In Minimum Wage Texas, Employment Scams Abound
My 30 year old male friend and a couple of his buddies agreed to work for Carnival Americana during a period of unemployment and these guys were made to sign a two page "Application" and informed by "Darrell" of Carnival Americana that they would travel to Denver, Colorado to work doing set up and tear down at the local festival. I told these guys that this didn't sound like a good idea but they didn't listen. This "Darrell" after all was a "white guy" and being the southern born and bred (aka clueless and completely naive) gentlemen they are they trusted him..
Whereas I did not.
Why would anyone agree to to take over housing and transportation and food costs for a bunch of guys in Texas to do work in Colorado? Doesn't Colorado have unemployed? Couldn't they have simply hired guys from Colorado and and avoided the extra cost. Something just didn't sound right.
Well, off they went to Colorado. Two weeks later, I get a call today and my friend tells me several guys quit on the spot because they had worked for 14 hour days, seven days straight and were paid a measly $285.00.
YOU do the math..
14 hours a Day multiplied by 7 days is 98 hours total.
At minimum wage of $7.25, the guys should have each seen a paycheck of around $710.50.
Yet they only saw a paycheck of $285.00.
This Darrell fella pocketed the other $425.50 a piece for each guy and there were several. He failed to live up to his promise of paying for food and hotel expenses leaving the guys to sleep barebacked on the floor of a trailer.
Their pay with the hours they worked equated to being far less than minimum wage and against the Texas Payday Law as this company, Carnival Americana, is based in Texas.
I wasn't shocked to hear this unfortunately as Texas seems to be overrun with shady "Businessmen". According to my friend, the guys were not put up in motel rooms as they had been promised but were put up in a trailer and had to pay for their food out of their paltry paycheck. On top of all of this, they will be coming back to Texas pretty much empty handed as the cost of the ticket (yep, they have to pay their own way back) will strip any remaining funds they have.
So I did what any concerned friend would do and I called the Texas Department of Labor Law in Austin, TX as soon as I ended my call with him. I explained his situation to one of the labor investigators and was informed even though they were not told up front what the pay would be they still should have at least been paid $7.25 an hour. The investigator informed me that this is quite common in Texas and that many people simply do not file complaints and thus the companies get away with it. She informed me to have my friend and the other men who worked file a complaint so that they could be fairly compensated.
I immediately called my friend back and informed him to file a complaint and provided him with the number. I also spoke with two of his friends. However, these guys for some reason were wary of filing complaints and did not seem to have much interest in it. This disappointed me more than the fact of them being ripped off.
This situation I encountered is very common here in Texas. It is very sad. For the life of me I can't understand why black people would simply not have the fight in them to stand up for their rights. No wonder so many of us get taken advantage of. Is it the lackadaisical culture of the South? Is it the fattening, carbohydrate and sugar laden food which clogs the brain and brings on cloudy thinking? Is it the cheap white women? That seem to flock to any black man with a buck in his pocket, killing the desire many of them should have to get their hustle on and become wealthy? Something is causing the blacks here in Texas and throughout the South to simply sleep on our rights.
This situation isn't unique to him as I have several other friends who walked away "without being paid" by companies they had done work for. They simply gave up.
This non-confrontational attitude held by many African Americans in the southern U.S. reinforces the stereotypes of blacks being easy to exploit. Only until we change the way we think and confront these issues we will continue to be treated with the back of the hand by employers.