In April of 2020, the Houston Metro area set a record for job losses. More jobs were lost during that month than at any other time according to city records. About 14% of the area’s entire workforce, or about 450,000 workers were without jobs. Some of these workers may experience difficulties with being paid all of the outstanding money owed to them.
The effects of thousands of unemployed local workers
An economist for Workforce Solutions said that the data is totally unprecedented. The city has never had such a large portion of the workforce filing for unemployment at once. Almost all of the job losses are believed to be from the coronavirus pandemic and associated mandatory closures of businesses and workplaces. The same company has found by looking through the data that industries such as leisure, hospitality, bars, restaurants, and hotels seem to be most affected. Many of them were not able to operate at all throughout most of the month of April.
A neighborhood called Baytown, which normally has Houston’s highest unemployment rate, went from 10.2% of residents out of work to 23.4% in just about a month. This area is known to have a lot of laborers who work temporarily at chemical plants, construction sites, and the seaport. The local workforce is considered to be very vulnerable to changes often experiences the worst of a recession.
Some local residents have complained about lockdown extensions and blame poor decisions by the government for the predicament. Many also believe the actual numbers are probably even worse because some workers may not be represented in the official numbers.
Recruiters have encouraged some residents to utilize online learning to become proficient in a new trade, but realistically that may not be possible for workers who are now worried more about survival. There is also concern from labor experts regarding how many workers will be able to simply return to their old positions when the pandemic ends.
Problems workers may face immediately after losing a job
Unemployment can cause a number of legal issues. First, an employer must only terminate a worker’s position for a neutral reason related to things like financial problems or violations of company policy. The business cannot merely use these legitimate reasons as a pretext for terminating a worker illegally and discrimination.
Getting paid properly is a serious issue for all workers. The prior employer must keep accurate records and provide the worker with their total pay for all hours worked, including overtime. A workplace that fails to do so may be sued for back wages and other damages.
Get assistance from a labor lawyer in Houston
There are attorneys who focus their practice on unpaid wages, unemployment, and related problems. To speak with an attorney, contact:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002