We have written about the various ways that wage theft in the construction industry occurs through the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, whereby workers are not paid for overtime or provided with benefits like healthcare and worker’s compensation should they become injured on the jobsite. Sometimes these workers are refused pay when the work is done.
NPR Houston recently reported a case where a homeowner refused to pay a worker after the work had been completed, and in another case, a wealthy homeowner threatened to call ICE on the worker if he continued to ask for payment. According to the article and audio, Harris County has filed a case brought to their attention through Fey y Justicia against a homeowner who refused to pay a worker who had done work on the homeowner’s home. Harris County used an existing law and was able to win the case with the worker getting the pay that he had previously been denied.
Fey y Justicia, or Faith and Justice, is a non-profit who fights to help undocumented workers fight for wages that have been withheld or stolen from them. They have announced that they will file a report in the next month or two with the City of Houston that is based on the “Theft of Services” law on the books so that the city can also begin to prosecute wage theft across Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the country.
You can listen to the audio of the conversations here.