Hundreds of Bexar County businesses investigated for not paying employees

What if payday came around and your employer decided not to pay you for work you already did? It happens to hundreds of Bexar County workers every year. News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila shows you the steps to take to get the money you earned.

It's one of the most common complaints we get into the Trouble Shooters Hotline. State records we obtained show 911 Bexar County workers have reported not receiving their wages since 2015. In 766 of those cases investigators determined employers had violated the state's payday law.

Last year we heard from a group of nurses who suffered weeks of lost income when the home health care agency they worked for abruptly stopped paying them.

“We had bounced payroll checks that were followed up by excuse and excuse and promises to honor the check. Until we were finally told we simply weren't going to be paid," said James Hughes, one of the nurses involved.

The stress and frustration can be overwhelming, but there is something you can do to get that back pay.

The Texas Workforce Commission, the same agency that helps with job placement and unemployment benefits, also investigates wage complaints.

“A lawyer would spend many, many, many hours trying to do what they do for free, it's a great service," says employment attorney Glenn Levy.

Levy says hiring someone like himself would likely be too expensive for one person. He usually handles class action suits involving a number of employees. Levy says he advises a lot of people to call or go online and file a wage complaint with the TWC, which can put a lien on a deadbeat employer or freeze its bank account.

“If the determination goes against the employer they are given a period of time to pay. If they fail to pay within that period that's when the lien is placed on that employer and they are unable to make any more payroll," Levy said.

Records show a number of Bexar County businesses have been hit with repeated payday violations.

Like Prime Time Plumbing and Construction: ten violations since 2015. The company's operations manager told me he had no comment.

But Jesus Ortega, one of the plumbers who complained to TWC, says he was owed about a thousand dollars.

“There's families out there that need the money. That's how they survive from paycheck to paycheck. It's hard especially for someone like me that didn't graduate," Ortega said.

Click here for a link to Texas Workforce Commission's complaint page.

Remember, you have to file within six months of missing a paycheck. If the company already filed bankruptcy, then you have to lodge your complaint with the Federal Bankruptcy Court to receive back pay. Click here for that link.

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