Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department sues Summit Drywall Inc. and owner to recover overtime back wages and damages for hundreds of drywall workers
SEATTLE -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Washington-based Summit Drywall Inc. and its owner, Thomas Kauzlarich, after an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division disclosed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions. The department’s lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation and liquidated damages for more than 250 current and former drywall workers. The lawsuit requests that the court permanently enjoin the defendants from committing future violations of the FLSA.
“Our investigators found that hundreds of Summit Drywall employees worked long hours without any overtime pay,” said Donna Hart, director of the division’s Seattle District Office. “This lawsuit demonstrates the department’s commitment to using all enforcement tools available, including litigation and assessment of liquidated damages, to recover all the wages employees have rightfully earned and to ensure compliance under the law.”
An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division’s Seattle District Office found that the employer failed to pay employees overtime at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA. Additionally, employees working as drywall hangers and tapers were paid on a piece-rate basis and were not compensated for all hours worked, such as time spent traveling and transporting equipment to the job site. These unpaid hours resulted in additional violations of the FLSA’s overtime requirements. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of hours worked, as required.
Summit Drywall provides drywall installation services for residential, commercial and multifamily construction projects throughout Washington.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law further requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment. The FLSA also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
Employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The department was represented by its regional Office of the Solicitor in Seattle. For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Seattle office at 206-398-8039. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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