Posts Tagged ‘DOL investigation’

$2.5M to Female Managers at Humana KY HQ in U.S. DOL Settlement of Pay Discrimination Case

Female employees at Humana’s Kentucky headquarters were shortchanged on their pay, and now finally they are getting their due. The settlement in their case was announced by the Labor Department today.

After a routine compliance evaluation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Humana Inc. has agreed to pay $2.5 million in back wages and interest as part of a conciliation agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve allegations of pay discrimination against 753 women at the health insurance company’s headquarters in Louisville.

OFCCP asserts that, in 2011-2012, Humana paid women in consulting, project manager, and manager positions less than similarly situated men. OFCCP determined that Humana’s actions violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sex. Although not admitting liability, the company will also make pay adjustments and take steps to ensure its pay practices meet legal requirements. Humana, with headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, is a federal contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We are pleased that Humana has a commitment to equal employment opportunity and has worked cooperatively with the Department of Labor to resolve this matter,” said OFCCP Regional Director Samuel Maiden, in Atlanta. “Federal contractors and subcontractors must comply with all federal anti-discrimination laws.”

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of others subject to certain limitations. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

DOL Dings Legal, Business Research Company $1.2M for Underpaying 211 Female Employees

Female employees at LexisNexis Risk Solutions got justice from the U.S. Department of Labor, which announced yesterday it has recovered $1.2 million in back pay and interest on their behalf for sex-based wage discrimination.

The victims of this alleged bias were 211 female employees at the company’s facilities in Alpharetta, Georgia and Boca Raton, Florida.

DOL said that two separate investigations by its  Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that, as of  December 2012 and continuing thereafter, LexisNexis paid 26 female employees in Operational Leadership jobs substantially less than males employed in the same jobs in Boca Raton, Florida.

OFCCP’s investigations further found that, as of December 2012, LexisNexis paid 185 female employees in Operational Leadership jobs substantially less than their male counterparts in Alpharetta, Georgia. The agency found a significant difference in pay in both locations even after taking into account legitimate factors that affect pay level. Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors from engaging in compensation discrimination on the basis of sex.

LexisNexis provides computer-assisted legal and business research and risk management services. During fiscal years 2015 and 2016, the company had millions of dollars in federal contracts with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Transportation and Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration.

Here’s the DOL announcement of the award.

Contractors Docked $1M for Not Paying Prevailing Wage to U.S. Senate Cafeteria Workers

Contractors providing services to the Congress have to obey prevailing wage laws just like any other federal contractor. When they violate the law, they should expect to pay a heavy price to set things right.

The latest contractors to learn that lesson are two companies that prepare and serve meals for Capitol Hill lawmakers and their staffs in the U.S. Senate cafeteria.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Restaurant Associates and its subcontractor, Personnel Plus, will pay 674 workers $1,008,302 in back wage for violations of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act.

DOL said its investigation revealed that the companies improperly classified workers– paying them for lower-paying jobs than they actually performed–and required employees to work prior to their scheduled starting times without compensation. Paying below the required rates also caused the companies to fail to pay the workers overtime at the proper rates, DOL said.

Investigators found that Restaurant Associates’ failure to pay workers proper overtime and failure to maintain a record of hours employees worked prior to their scheduled shifts also violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The SCA applies to every contract valued in excess of $2,500 entered into by the U.S. Government or the District of Columbia, the principal purpose of which is to furnish services in the U.S. using service employees. Contractors and subcontractors performing on covered service contracts must observe minimum wage and safety, health and welfare benefits and maintain certain records.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

Here’s DOL’s Tuesday announcement of the investigation findings and monetary award.

 

Restaurant Docked $700K for FLSA Violations

Violations of the wage and hour rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act have proven costly for a restaurant group in Wisconsin.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Wednesday that El Azteca restaurants in Appleton, De Pere and Neena and their owners and managers – Marco Montalvo, Fe Montalvo and Sergio Jimenez – will pay 129 current and former employees a total of $700,000, including $350,000 in back wages and additional $350,000 in liquidated damages. The companies and individual defendants will also pay $25,000 in civil money penalties for violating the FLSA.

The findings of DOL investigators reads like a classic what-not-to-do.

Investigators found the restaurants failed to comply with the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions by:

  • Failing to record daily and weekly work hours and earnings accurately, resulting in not only a recordkeeping violation but also in the employer failing to pay employees for all the hours that they worked.
  • Paying kitchen staff flat salaries without regard to the number of  hours they worked, resulting in violations of the overtime regulations when these employees worked over 40 hours in a workweek and were not paid overtime.
  • Making illegal deductions from servers’ and bussers’ pay for uniform shirts, nametags and aprons, resulting in minimum wage violations.

The consent judgment settling the DOL action also requires the employer to:

  • Provide every current and future employee with the following Wage and Hour Division publications in both Spanish and English:
  • Provide each employee with the Wage and Hour Division’s phone number.
  • Provide each employee on each pay date with a pay stub, showing the specific dates of the pay period, total hours worked and paid, rate of pay, overtime hours paid, overtime rate of pay, gross amounts paid and all deductions taken by defendants. The stub must show all pay and deductions regardless of whether the pay was by check or in cash.
  • Conduct quarterly reviews of time and payroll records at each location.

Here’s the DOL’s announcement of the settlement in the case.

Snack Food Maker Hit With $2M Award for Minimum Wage and Overtime Violations

It’s the latest sign that the federal government is cracking down on employers and their staffing agencies for not complying with the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

More than 600 temporary line workers at J&J Snack Foods Corp. will share more than $2.1 million in back wages and liquidated damages for the company’s minimum wage and overtime violations, the U.S. Department of Labor announced on October 27.

J&J’s products include baked goods under the Country Home Bakers, Mary B’s and SuperPretzel brand names, and frozen food products under the ICEE, Luigi’s, Slush Puppie, Minute Maid Juice Bars and WholeFruit labels. Its products are sold nationwide at stadiums and arenas; department, chain and convenience stores; discount and warehouse clubs; theme parks; movie theatres; schools and colleges; and retail supermarkets.

The department’s most recent investigation found 465 workers at J&J’s Swedesboro facility provided by staffing firm Sebastian and Sebastian LLC were paid straight time for overtime hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, in violation of federal law. In response, J&J agreed to pay a total of $1,260,254 in back wages and liquidated damages to these workers.

Two hundred and twelve temporary workers  at the J&J facility in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, will receive $920,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to make them whole for not being denied the federal minimum wage and overtime.

J&J and the staffing agencies were joint employers because “the economic realities show that [the workers] are economically dependent on — and thus employed by — another entity involved in the work,” the DOL said

More details on the case are available here.

$18M Settlement of OT Violations by Halliburton

Halliburton’s alleged failure to pay overtime to more than 1,000 of its salaried employees nationwide has cost it big time.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced yesterday that the global oil and gas service provider has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide after department investigators found Halliburton incorrectly categorized employees in 28 job positions as exempt from overtime.

The company did not pay overtime to these salaried employees — working as field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists — when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, DOL alleged. The company also failed to keep accurate records of hours worked by these employees.

DOL’s announcement reminds employers:

Simply paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not eligible for overtime. The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for individuals employed in bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions, as well as certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the department’s regulations.

Read more about this case.

DOL Recovers $945K for Workers Denied Prevailing Wage by Calif. Drone Manufacturer

A company that manufactures drones for the U.S. Air Force has agreed to make up for lost wages due its workers under prevailing wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor announced last Friday.

The company, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., based in San Diego, produces unmanned aircraft systems and tactical reconnaissance radars as well as advanced high resolution surveillance systems. As suppliers that furnish military testing services and logistical support under contract with the Air Force, General Atomics is subject to the requirements of the McNamara-O-Hara Service Contract Act.

That law requires that contractors and subcontractors performing services on covered federal contracts in excess of $2,500 must pay their service workers no less than the wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality, or rates contained in a predecessor contractor’s collective bargaining agreement.

General Atomics didn’t comply with the law in paying 901 employees at job sites throughout the U.S., including the China Lake Naval Weapons Center in Ridgecrest, Calif., DOL investigators found.

To make up for that shortfall, the company has paid $945,000 in back wages to these workers, DOL said.

General Atomics agreed to pay its employees the highest prevailing wage among all of its job sites going back for a six-year period.

Read more about the DOL action and contractor response here.