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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 14-1857-DAL

Date: 

Mar. 25, 2014

Contact: 

Diana Petterson or Juan Rodriguez

Phone: 

972-850-4710 or 972-850-4709

US Labor Department recovers more than $277,000 in back wages for 233 janitorial service employees at New Orleans Convention Center, other sites


Janitorial service subcontractor misclassified workers as independent contractors

NEW ORLEANS -- Empire Janitorial Sales and Services Inc. has paid $277,565 in overtime back wages to 233 current and former janitorial service workers employed by Acadian Payroll Services LLC after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions.

The investigation, conducted by the division’s New Orleans District Office, found that employees were wrongfully classified as independent contractors and paid an hourly wage with no overtime wages of time and one-half their regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Additionally, Acadian Payroll Services did not establish a seven-day workweek and failed to maintain proper records of weekly hours worked by its employees. Empire Janitorial Sales and Services and Acadian Payroll Services shared joint employer responsibilities. Both companies agreed to future compliance with the FLSA; however, full payment of back wages was made by Metairie-based Empire Janitorial Sales and Services, which cooperated with the investigation.

“We are pleased that the employer agreed to reclassify janitorial staff as employees, establish a seven-day workweek and to compensate workers properly when they work overtime,” said Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrator for the Southwest. “Misclassified workers are often denied access to basic benefits and protections under the FLSA, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, overtime, minimum wage and unemployment insurance, to which they are entitled.”

The department and the Internal Revenue Service, through an interagency memorandum of understanding, are working together and sharing general information to reduce the incidence of misclassification of employees, reduce the tax gap and improving compliance with federal labor laws.

Memorandums of understanding with the IRS and state government agencies arose as part of the department’s Misclassification Initiative, with the goal of preventing, detecting and remedying employee misclassification. In addition, under the terms of the information-sharing agreement, the department may share specific case information with the IRS. This case is typical of those the department may refer to the IRS. More information is available on the department’s misclassification Web page at http://www.dol.gov/whd/workers/misclassification/.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 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 also must maintain accurate time and payroll records. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. For more information about whether a worker is an employee under the FLSA, visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs13.htm.

Accessible and searchable information on enforcement activities by the department is available at http://ogesdw.dol.gov/homePage.php. For more information about the FLSA 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 on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

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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.