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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [12/15/2009]
Contact Name: Michael Shimizu
Phone Number: (206) 553-7620
Release Number: 09-1447-SEA

US Department of Labor recovers nearly $1 million in back wages for 206 Seattle security company workers

SEATTLE — An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has recovered almost $1 million in back wages for 206 employees of a Seattle-based security company, the department announced today.

HWA Inc. previously held seven federal contracts providing security guards to six government agencies in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Missouri. The company began missing payrolls in August 2009, resulting in unpaid back wages totaling $980,121. The Wage and Hour Division found the missed payrolls to be a violation of the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Contractor Work Hours Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA).

"It's the law. Workers are entitled to receive every dollar they are due in wages," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The department's Wage and Hour Division is working closely with employers to ensure their compliance with the law, and to protect the rights of workers wherever violations occur."

Under the SCA, contractors and subcontractors performing on federal service contracts in excess of $2,500 must pay their service workers no less than the wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality. The CWHSSA requires the payment of time and one-half the basic rate of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Contractors must ensure that their subcontractors are fully informed of requirements under federal government contract labor laws. Those who fail to properly compensate their workers are subject to federal withholding contract clauses that allow the government to withhold contract payments until all workers are paid the prevailing wages and fringe benefits.

For more information concerning federal government contract laws, please call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or contact the division's district office in Seattle at 206-398-8039. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.wagehour.dol.gov.