HOUSTON, Texas. In certain remote parts of Texas, oil companies may have difficulty finding workers. When these companies face hiring challenges, some turn to temporary visa workers to fill in the labor gap. Temporary seasonal visas are designed to give businesses the opportunity to hire workers from abroad to fill in labor gaps. Resorts, agriculture, farm workers, and housekeepers are all hired every year under the program.
However, according to a recent report in the Nation, many of these workers don’t enjoy protections most Americans take for granted. The workers are tied to the employer that sponsors their visa. This can lead to abuse and violations. The report found that some immigrant workers on temporary visas may face sexual abuse, labor violations, wage theft, or unpaid overtime for their labor. In fact, some of these workers may not even be paid the federal minimum wage. The Nation found that the majority of female temporary workers may not be paid overtime. Alarmingly, women were also found to be denied more stable visas because they were perceived by employers as being unable to handle heavy lifting. This led to greater job insecurity among women. The visa also served as a protection to employers who violate fair wage laws and who practiced gender discrimination.
According to Reuters, even as President Trump pushes for America-first immigration policies, 15,000 additional visas for temporary seasonal workers were recently authorized.
The oil industry has already come under fire for failing to properly pay its workers overtime. It isn’t clear how many workers may not be receiving the wages they may deserve. Worse, when the oil industry doesn’t pay temporary workers the pay they deserve, it could also make these same companies less likely to hire local American workers who might fight for their legal rights and who may have the means and the opportunity to do so.
So, what can workers do? For one, if you are an American worker who hasn’t been paid overtime or if you believe you are owed unpaid overtime, now is the time to seek your compensation. More oilfield workers are fighting back after learning that their employers failed to properly pay them the overtime they deserved. By raising awareness of how prevalent wage theft and unpaid overtime has become, the hope is that someday these temporary work visas will be subject to greater oversight and protections. By fighting back, workers also increase the likelihood that companies will be compliant in the future. Unfortunately, companies get away with not paying workers the overtime they deserve. Government oversight agencies don’t have the time to investigate every single wage violation claim. Instead, more people are speaking to unpaid overtime lawyers and seeking compensation through court.
If you believe you are owed unpaid overtime, contact Moore & Associates, a wage violation lawyer in Houston, Texas. Our firm can review the facts of your case, and fight your claim either inside or outside of court. Visit us at https://www.mooreandassociates.net/ to learn more.