Study On Labor Standard Violations Reports Misclassification Of Workers In Texas

Construction, transportation, cleaning and food preparation are some of the industries where these violations occur

According to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, construction is one of the industries in which misclassification of workers –which is problematic in Texas— is prevalent.

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) released a study Thursday, March 15th, that analyzes systemic wage underpayment and misclassification of workers in industries that employ significant number of immigrants. The study found that such misclassification –which entails classifying certain workers as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation— happens in Texas and has negative consequences for the state.

The study, titled “Strategic Leverage: Use of State and Local Laws to Enforce Labor Standards in Immigrant-Dense Occupations” explains that immigrants –who represent 17 percent of the United States labor force— are twice as likely as native-born workers to be employed in industries where violations of core labor standards are widespread.

Construction, transportation, cleaning and food preparation are some of the industries where these violations occur.

The study, which also includes research about payroll fraud, notes that an investigation by McClatchy Newspapers reported in 2014 that misclassification of construction workers in Texas resulted in the loss of $1.2 billion in state tax revenue.

Andrew Elmore, who works at the New York University School of Law and is the study’s principal author, underscored Texas has made some progress through, for instance, a 2011 state law that allows for criminal prosecution for wage theft, as reported by Construction Citizen, but added there are other “strategic initiatives that other states have engaged in that Texas may want to consider, initiatives including using stop work orders.”

Stop work orders can shut down a business until it complies with the law it is breaking.


Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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