The law protects Texas workers from wage theft, but without enforcement, this does not mean much. According to the Texas Observer, the Texas Workforce Commission uncovers thousands of wage and hour law violations every year. The commission orders these employers to pay back the money they have stolen from their employees, but records indicate that roughly half of them do not.
These records are available currently, but only through a formal request. However, members of the public who wish to find out which employers are on the list may soon have an easy means to do so. House Bill 48 proposes that the commission create a database of employers who have engaged in wage theft and refused injunctions to pay it back. Unlike the current request process, the database would be public and searchable.
The database would include the names of company owners and individuals in upper management who flout the commission’s orders. It would also include the names of employers that have wage theft convictions for violation of state wage theft law.
There are several potential benefits that legislators have given to justify creating such a database:
- Job seekers would know which employers to avoid
- Contractors could avoid hiring subcontractors that cheat employees
- Legislators could refuse to issue tax credit letters of support to companies on the list
- Fear of exposure to the public may discourage unethical employers who would otherwise engage in wage theft
According to LegiScan, bipartisan House Bill 48 is currently pending review from the Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee.