Back Wages Recovered for 49 WA Painters
A recent investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division reportedly found that a Washington State painting company failed to pay employees’ overtime rates.
A violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, T’s Pro-Painting in Kent, Washington, allegedly violated federal overtime requirements knowingly. The division adds that it also learned that the employer did not keep time records for all employees.
Due to the willful nature of the violations, the division assessed $4,035 in civil money penalties.
Additionally, the department recovered $57,330 in overtime wages and $57,330 in liquidated damages for 49 employees.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is determined to protect the workers’ rights to receive the full amount of their earned wages, including overtime rates when required,” said Wage and Hour District Director Thomas Silva in Seattle.
Other Wage Theft Cases
In August last year, over a span of several days, the DOL recovered wages for 135 workers across three different cases spanning the country.
In total, the DOL recovered $709,688—a combination of overtime and back wages from the contractors responsible for misclassifying workers as independent contractors, denying overtime and failing to pay correct wages.
Then, at the beginning of 2023, a commercial painting contractor operating in Lakeville, Minnesota, was found guilty of wage theft and theft by swindle for underpaying or neglecting to pay his employees.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, Frederick Newell stole over $35,000 from his employees. The case is reportedly one of the first to be prosecuted under Minnesota's new wage theft law, which was passed in 2019.
Upon investigation of the incidents, it was discovered that despite receiving funds due under the terms of the contract, Newell and IPS intentionally withheld payments. That same year, investigators found that IPS was in financial distress, having failed to pay taxes. A levy was also assessed against Newell by the Internal Revenue Service.
According to reports, the general contractor paid IPS a total of $299,174 for labor and materials for the painting and cleaning contracts at the Redwell apartment complex. The IRS was also paid $30,000 to be released from the tax levy.
The following month, a Las Vegas paint and specialty coatings contracting company was ordered to pay more than $3.6 million after a DOL investigation found that the employer falsified pay records and intimidated workers who questioned the pay practices.
In January, the Department obtained a consent judgement in federal court, requiring Unforgettable Coatings Inc. and owner Cory Summerhays to pay back wages, liquidated damages, interest and penalties to 593 employees in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.
As a result, the investigation determined that affected workers in four states were owed a total of $1,809,249 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. The DOL also assessed the employer $50,000 in civil money penalties due to the willful nature of its violations, with an additional $18,092 in interest.
The company had also previously denied 21 Utah workers overtime wages in 2013. The DOL recovered $47,393 in the wage theft case, but reported that afterwards the company “used second chance to illegally double-down.”
In the fiscal year 2021, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $36 million for more than 21,000 construction industry workers in more than 3,000 investigations.