According to a critical report surveying the construction industry, 20% of Austin-area construction workers last year reported on-the-job injuries that required a trip to the doctor, and 20% of those employees said employers refused to pay their medical bills.
The report, “Building Austin, Building Injustice,” was prepared by Workers Defense Project, a nonprofit community organization, with the assistance from University of Texas and University of Illinois researchers.
The report noted that Texas is the only state in which employers aren’t required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
The report alleged that many construction workers are poorly paid, and that Texas weakly enforces wage-and-hour violations. It reported that one out of five construction workers surveyed said they hadn’t been paid for work they performed. In addition, half said they hadn’t received overtime pay they were due.
The report was based on a yearlong study involving surveys and interviews with construction workers and industry leaders, along with a review of government data.
Note: There’s room to doubt the objectivity of this report. Pay attention, however, if you’re in the construction industry. The report—plus the U.S. Department of Labor’s announced OSHA crackdown—is certain to create bad publicity. That, in turn, likely means more litigation is on the way as workers start thinking about seeking legal help. As you double-check safety compliance, double-check with your attorney on any legal liability you might face.
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