An $18-per-hour wage proved unsatisfactory for an electrician who claims he deserved to earn more for his work at the Beaumont Independent School District.

Kyle Betts filed a lawsuit Nov. 5 in Jefferson County district Court against JJ&R Electric, claiming the company failed to pay him the prevailing wage rate while he worked for the district.

"In addition to failing to pay the prevailing wage, Defendant falsely represented to Plaintiff and to investigating and contributing authorities that Plaintiff was an 'apprentice' and as such, eligible for a lower prevailing wage," the suit states. "In point of fact, Plaintiff was 'walking foreman' who, at times exercised supervisory control over 5-6 other electrician."

Scheming to inappropriately pay Betts, JJ&R ordered him and other electricians in January to sign up for apprenticeship classes and to sign up for a first-year apprentice class. If Betts signed up for the classes, JJ&R could pay him a lower wage rate than required by law despite the fact that Betts had worked as an electrician for years, the suit states.

In his complaint, Betts seeks actual, special and incidental damages, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

John Werner of Reaud, Morgan and Quinn in Beaumont will be representing him.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E188-745

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