Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
OLNEY, Ill. -- A U.S. Department of Labor administrative law judge has ordered HHMT Inc., a now-defunct mail-hauling business operating out of Olney, and Hal Hicks, who ran the operation, to pay $298,000 in back wages to 47 truck drivers after determining that the company violated the Service Contract Act enforced by the department by not paying the required prevailing wages to 47 truck drivers who were hauling U.S. mail throughout numerous states. The company and Hicks also are barred from bidding on any U.S. government contracts for three years.
The administrative law judge found overwhelming evidence that the company and Hicks violated the prevailing wage requirements of the SCA by not paying drivers for all hours worked and in some instances not paying the applicable wage determination rate for the United States Postal Service contracts. The judge found “culpable disregard” by Hicks of government contract labor requirements.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division’s investigation found that from October 2001 through September 2005, the company used two-person truck driver teams to drive the long-distance routes. Although the drivers were on 24 hour shifts, they were only paid for the time they spent driving. Under the Labor Department’s hours worked rules, employers who require workers to be on a shift of 24 hours or more are not allowed to deduct more than eight hours per shift for sleep time, in addition to time for bona fide meal breaks.
“Companies and individuals who violate the SCA rules by not paying proper wages generally will not have the right to bid on government contracts,” said Jim Yochim, assistant district director for the Wage and Hour Division’s office in Springfield, Ill. “Considering Mr. Hicks’ lengthy experience with government mail-hauling contracts and previous investigations by the Wage and Hour Division, the department sought the debarment of Mr. Hicks and the company.”
Hicks has operated mail-hailing businesses since 1978. He formerly operated Midwest Transit, which also was investigated for failure to comply with the SCA’s prevailing wage requirements.
The SCA requires contractors and subcontractors performing services on prime contracts in excess of $2,500 to pay service employees in various classes no less than the wage rates and fringe benefits – which include vacation, holidays, and health and welfare – found prevailing in the locality, or the rates contained in a predecessor contractor’s collective bargaining agreement, including prospective increases.
For more information about the SCA or the Fair Labor Standards Act, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.