The Problem

Each year, WDP’s Employment and Legal Services program receives hundreds of cases from low-income workers in Austin and Dallas who have worked in construction, cleaning, landscaping, childcare, and food service, all of whom were denied payment for their work or not paid the legal minimum wage or overtime. Non-payment of wages is an especially common among low-wage workers:

  • 82% of domestic workers do not receive overtime pay [1]
  • One in five Texas construction workers are denied payment for their work, resulting in an inability to meet basic needs [2]

Wage theft affects the quality of life of working families, who are forced to face unplanned economic hardship when employers refuse to pay them, putting thousands of hardworking Texas families at risk.

The Solution

The program operates by assisting workers in negotiating with employers, finding legal representation, and filing claims with local and state agencies. Each week WDP receives cases from low-income workers affected by serious workplace abuses at its Workers’ Rights Meetings. At these weekly meetings, workers are:

  • Informed about their rights and resources available to defend them;
  • Paired with a skilled Workers’ Rights Advocate to review their case; and
  • Referred to the appropriate agency, or representation by a WDP attorney or advocate who will negotiate directly with their employer or take legal action to resolve the case.


Learn about the statewide Theft of Service law!





[1] Gregory Gaines et. al., Workplace Conditions of Domestic Workers in Montgomery County, Maryland, George Washington University and Montgomery County Council Committee on Health and Human Services, May 2006.

[2] Amy Price et. al., Build a Better Texas: Construction Working Conditions in the Lone Star State, University of Texas at Austin [Division of Diversity and Community Engagement] and Workers Defense Project, January 2013.


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