13 workers file first wage-theft complaint in Houston

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HOUSTON, TX – Nearly five months after the city of Houston decided to lend a hand to low-wage workers by passing the wage-theft ordinance, 13 workers are making the first complaint.

With the help of the Faith and Justice Worker Center, they filed documents alleging their supervisor refused to pay them overtime, even when they worked 80 hours or more.

“They’re trying to really put a message out in the community that workers should be paid and that there should be justice and consequences,” said Laura Perez-Boston, executive director of the Faith and Justice Worker Center.

The mayor’s office is welcoming complaints like this one.

Inspector general Robin Curtis sent a statement saying:

“The mayor and city council are proud of the new wage theft ordinance which allows workers for any city vendor or contractor to seek resolution for unpaid or underpaid wages.”

A wage theft conviction carries harsh punishment – guilty businesses are banned from renewing dozens of permits for a five-year period.

That effectively prevents them from operating in the city of Houston.

The city’s message to would-be wage thieves seems clear: You better pay up, or get outta town!