Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
HOUMA, La. -- Eagle Electric Inc. in Houma has paid $73,605 in back wages to 15 current and former employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. The company failed to pay employees prevailing wage rates, proper overtime, and fringe benefits for work on a federally financed construction contract to perform electrical services on the Assumption Parish Community Center for the Assumption Parish Police Jury in Napoleonville.
“Employers who enter into federal contracts are required to pay prevailing wages and benefits to workers in accordance with stated federal guidelines for the localities in which they live,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “When employers ignore their responsibilities, they not only cheat their own employees, they gain an unfair advantage over those employers who obey the law. The department’s action in this case, and the back wages found due, should put other contractors on notice to ensure that they are paying their employees in compliance with the law.”
The investigation by the division’s New Orleans District Office determined that Eagle Electric Inc. failed to pay employees the required prevailing wages and fringe benefits applicable to the classifications of work they performed on the project. Workers performing electricians’ work were paid laborers’ rates, which are lower, and were not paid fringe benefits as required by DBRA. Paying improper hourly rates also created overtime violations when premium pay was based on rates that were too low. Additionally, the investigation found that the employer failed to maintain records, as required by the FLSA.
Eagle Electric performed work on the project, funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as a subcontractor of Lincoln Builders of Baton Rouge Inc. The company agreed to future compliance with the FLSA, DBRA and CWHSSA, and has paid the back wages found due in full.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
The DBRA requires all contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal and certain federally funded projects to pay their laborers and mechanics proper prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits as determined by the secretary of labor.
The CWHSSA applies to federal service contracts and federal and federally assisted construction contracts exceeding$100,000. It requires contractors and subcontractors on covered contracts to pay laborers and mechanics employed in the performance of the contracts one and one-half times their basic rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a week.
For more information about the FLSA, DBRA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or the division’s New Orleans District Office at 504-589-6171. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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