Employment Law -- Employee

What Are The Filing Procedures?

An employee who feels that he or she has not been paid all wages earned may file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Complaint forms may be obtained from local TWC offices, or upon request through the mail, through our agency website, or by calling 1­800­832­9243 /TDD 1­800­735­2989. The completed form, along with any information necessary to support the claim, must be mailed to TWC at the address shown on the complaint form. The complaint must be signed, and the signature of the claimant must be verified by a Notary Public or by any employee of TWC. A wage claim must be filed no later than 180 days after the date the claimed wages originally became due for payment. Upon receipt of a wage claim, TWC notifies the employer of the claim by sending the employer a copy of the wage claim and a form on which to furnish the employer’s response. An investigator from TWC’s Labor Law Department, using the information furnished by the employee and the employer, along with any additional information that the investigator feels to be essential, issues a written decision [Preliminary Wage Determination Order (PWDO)] as to whether wages are due, and if so, the amount due. Either party dissatisfied with the PWDO may appeal that ruling to the Special Hearings Department. Requests for hearing must be made in writing no later than the 21st day after the PWDO is mailed to the parties by the Commission. This time limit is mandatory. Appeal hearings are usually held by telephone conference call; any party may present witness testimony and submit documentary evidence. The testimony in an appeal hearing is taken under oath, and the entire proceedings are recorded on audio tape. After testimony is concluded, the hearing officer renders a written order for the payment of wages, or a finding that no wages are due. This decision states the amount of wages due, if any, any penalty that has been assessed, and advises the parties of their right to judicial review. Either party dissatisfied with the results of the hearing may file a written motion for rehearing. This motion must be filed within fourteen days after the date on which the decision was mailed. Again, compliance with this time limit is critical, because unless a motion for rehearing is filed or the Commission reopens the hearing, the order becomes final after fourteen days. Within thirty days after a final order of the Commission is mailed, either party may file for judicial review in a court of competent jurisdiction. In the petition for judicial review, the Commission and all parties to the proceedings before the Commission must be made parties to the suit. Again, note that the 30­day time limit is critical. If the appeal for judicial review is filed late, the court will have no jurisdiction to hear the case. This action must be brought in the county of the claimant’s residence; if the claimant is not a resident of Texas, the action must be brought in the county in Texas where the employer has its principal place of business. If the final order of the Commission requires the payment of wages or a penalty, the party must either deposit into a TWC escrow account the total amount ordered to be paid, or file with the court a timely affidavit of inability to pay. The money deposited is placed in an interest­bearing escrow account to be disbursed at the conclusion of the judicial process, with the interest being paid to the prevailing party.