Hundreds of painters and blasters have recouped back pay from a Texas industrial painting contractor, after federal authorities determined that the workers had been cheated of earnings.
Some employees of Performance Blasting and Coating LP, of Port Arthur TX, worked up to 68 hours a week without receiving overtime, while others saw hours erased from time cards they had submitted, according to the Department of Labor.
Performance Blasting & Coating
|Performance Blasting & Coating specializes in coatings removal, surface preparation and coatings application for the marine, utility and petrochemical markets.|
The company, also known as PBC, has paid a total of $170,622 to 314 current and former painters and abrasive blasters following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division.
PBC did not respond to a request for comment.
The federal investigation found several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions. The violations included:
• Workers were paid “straight time” for all hours worked, rather than the required time-and-one-half rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek;
• Workers were not paid as required for time spent traveling in a company vehicle on their way to and from work locations; and
• The company failed to keep accurate time and payroll records. In some cases, hours were removed from employees’ timecards after they were submitted, the Labor Department said.
‘Illegal and Unacceptable’
“Vulnerable employees worked as many as 68 hours in a workweek without overtime compensation,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “This practice is illegal and unacceptable.”
She added, “Employees’ hours must be tracked and recorded accurately, with payment made for all hours worked. Other employers should use this opportunity to ensure that their record-keeping practices are accurate, and they are paying their employees in compliance with the law.”
Performance Blasting and Coating has paid the back wages in full and has agreed to “comply fully” with federal wage laws in the future, the Labor Department said.
Federal wage laws require that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay (including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay) for hours worked beyond 40 per week.
In general, “hours worked” includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer’s premises or at any other prescribed place of work—from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday.
Additionally, the law requires that employers maintain accurate records of wages, hours and other conditions of employment.
Performance Blasting & Coating specializes in coatings removal, surface preparation and coatings application for the marine, utility and petrochemical markets. The company’s services include corrosion inspection and analysis, electrical substation painting, internal coatings and linings, and fireproofing.