The Philadelphia Regional Solicitor's Office is responsible for most civil trial litigation and legal support for the U.S. Department of Labor in the following states:
- West Virginia
- District of Columbia
We employ 33 attorneys and 10 support staff, including those working at our Associate Regional Solicitor's Office in Arlington, Virginia.
- Arlington, Virginia
WHAT WE DO:
The Philadelphia Regional Solicitor’s Office advises and represents Department of Labor agencies that enforce many of the laws Congress enacted to protect our Nation’s workers. Examples of our work include:
- Litigating in federal district court to recover unpaid wages that are owed to workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act;
- Assisting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with its investigations of unsafe working conditions, and defending citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission;
- Suing on behalf of workers who have been retaliated against in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act;
- Vindicating the rights of workers to health and pension benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA);
- Providing pre-referral assistance and litigating before the Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges to hold federal contractors responsible for complying with the legal requirements to take affirmative action and not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran;
- Defending the federal Black Lung Trust Fund to ensure that resources are provided only to qualifying coal miners suffering from Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis; and
- Recommending to United States Attorneys’ Offices the prosecution of persons who violate the criminal provisions of the many labor laws we enforce.
We are primarily a trial litigation office, and our attorneys frequently appear in federal district court and before administrative tribunals – often to vindicate the rights of our Nation’s most vulnerable workers. We also regularly advise DOL agencies on various non-litigation facets of their work.
We have had extraordinary success in U.S. district court litigation in recent years, in both jury and bench trials and in negotiated settlements. For example, our attorneys:
- relentlessly pursued, through over a decade of district court litigation, a former trustee who violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by wrongfully diverting funds from hundreds of employee benefit plans; the litigation resulted in a recovery of more than $42 million for the benefit plans. Secretary of Labor v. Koresko
- obtained a settlement from a pipeline construction management company resulting in $3.7 million in overtime back wages and liquidated damages being paid to 299 pipeline safety inspectors. Acosta v. Team Environmental LLC
- obtained, following a week-long bench trial, a decision ordering $6.5 million to be restored to the employee stock ownership plan of a packaging equipment and conveying systems services company arising out of ERISA violations. Acosta v. Vinoskey
- recovered over $570,000 in back wages and liquidated damages following a three-day bench trial against a restaurant that failed to properly compensate its servers, bartenders, and kitchen workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Secretary of Labor v. Sofia & Gicelle, Inc., d/b/a Fast Eddies, Sport, & Billiards
- persuaded two separate Philadelphia juries that employers unlawfully fired three employees in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s anti-retaliation provision. The Secretary was awarded compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the three employees. Secretary of Labor v. Fairmount Foundry, Inc.; Secretary of Labor v. Lloyd Industries
- obtained a jury verdict for unpaid wages against a landscaping company that claimed its work was covered by the agricultural exemption to the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Secretary of Labor v. DeVilbiss Landscape Architects
- obtained a fully favorable decision after a two-week bench trial finding a medical staffing company willfully misclassified workers as independent contractors and failed to pay them overtime. The Court held that the employer owes at least $7.2 million in back wages and liquidated damages to its workers. Secretary of Labor v. Steadfast Medical Staffing
- recovered over $5.8 million in back wages for miners by petitioning a bankruptcy court under the hot goods provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit their employer from shipping coal through interstate commerce until the wages had been paid. In re: Blackjewel, LLC
- recovered over $4.5 million in back wages and liquidated damages from an employer who misclassified its home care worker employees as independent contractors and failed to pay them the required overtime premium. Secretary of Labor v. Successful Aging Care Net Inc.
- recovered over $2.8 million in back wages and liquidated damages from an employer who improperly lowered its employees’ regular rates in overtime workweeks, creating the appearance of paying an overtime premium while in reality paying the same straight time rate for all hours worked, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Secretary of Labor v. Red Lion Home Care, Inc.
- recovered over $364,000 in back wages and liquidated damages from four joint employers who made improper deductions to employees’ wages, required employees to work “volunteer hours” without pay during their probationary period, and failed to pay them the Fair Labor Standards Act’s required overtime premium. Secretary of Labor v. Woodmore House, et al.
- recovered over $848,000 in back wages and liquidated damages from five joint employers who failed to pay wages to its tipped employees, resulting in the employees receiving only their tips for hours worked beyond 80 hours in a pay period. The employer also failed to pay them the Fair Labor Standards Act’s required overtime premium. Secretary of Labor v. Mejia Corp. et al.
- obtained a consent judgment for over $43 million in back wages and liquidated damages against an oil and gas industry employer who improperly misclassified its title search workers as independent contractors and failed to pay them the required overtime premium in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Secretary of Labor v. Holland Acquisitions, Inc.
- obtained a consent judgment for $950,000 in back wages, liquidated damages and civil money penalties against the operators of four assisted living facilities who failed to pay their employees the minimum wage and overtime amounts required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, by paying an insufficient day rate and by failing to pay some employees who worked overnight shifts for all hours worked. Secretary of Labor v. International Health Care Consultants, Inc., et al.
Our attorneys also routinely litigate before administrative tribunals. For example, our attorneys:
- convinced an administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission that a poultry processing operator willfully violated OSHA standards governing lockout/tagout requirements for machinery; the ALJ assessed over $160,000 in civil penalties, and her decision was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Secretary of Labor v. Birdsboro Kosher Farms
- following an 8-day trial before a Department of Labor administrative law judge, obtained an award of more than $6.5 million for African American job applicants who were discriminated against by a federal contractor. OFCCP v. Enterprise RAC Company of Baltimore, LLC
- convinced an administrative law judge of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission that a major mine operator suspended its only female manager because she raised multiple safety concerns. Finding the operator’s behavior “egregious,” the judge ordered the mine operator to compensate the manager for all her losses and increased the penalty amount beyond what the agency requested. Secretary o/b/o Barbara E. Cassidy v. Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company LLC
In addition to trial litigation, our attorneys evaluate cases for possible criminal prosecution under the statutes we enforce. Where we believe that prosecution is warranted, we refer the matter to the local United States Attorney’s Office and provided assistance. Through this process, we recently:
- referred an OSHA matter to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania when a worker was overcome by toxic fumes while cleaning the interior of a tank car. The employer pleaded guilty to a violation of 29 U.S.C. § 666(e) for willfully violating OSHA respirator standards in a manner that caused the death of an employee. The employer was sentenced to 24 months’ probation and was ordered to pay a fine of $325,000. U.S. v. Dana Container, Inc.
- referred an OSHA matter to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania stemming from an accident in which a forklift operated by employees came into contact with an energized overhead power line at a construction site. An employee had his hands on the forklift at the time and was fatally electrocuted. The employer pleaded guilty to a violation of 29 U.S.C. § 666(e) for willfully violating OSHA electrical standards in a manner that caused the death of an employee. The employer was sentenced to three years’ probation and was ordered to pay a fine of $20,000, in addition to a civil penalty of $180,000. U.S. v. Insight Pipe Contracting
DOL AGENCIES WE SUPPORT:
- Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) (protecting pension and health and welfare plan benefits)
- Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) (safety for miners, mostly coal in our region)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (safety for everyone else)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration Whistleblower Directorate (protecting workers who speak up about unsafe conditions on the job)
- Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) (protecting employees of and applicants for employment of federal contractors against discrimination)
- Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), Black Lung and Longshore Divisions
- Wage and Hour Division (WHD) (enforcing minimum wage, overtime, and child labor laws, protecting farmworkers, and ensuring that American workers are not cheated)
|1835 Market Street, Mailstop SOL/22
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2968
(215) 861-5162 (FAX)
|REGIONAL SOLICITOR (Acting)
|Samantha N. Thomas
|DEPUTY REGIONAL SOLICITOR
|Samantha N. Thomas
|Counsel for Civil Rights / BLBA
|Counsel for ERISA
|Counsel for MSHA
|Counsel for OSHA
|Counsel for Wage and Hour
|201 12th Street South - Suite 401
Arlington, VA 22202-5450
(202) 693-9392 (FAX)
|Associate Regional Solicitor
|Channah S. Broyde
|Counsel for Safety and Health
|Counsel for Wage and Hour