PORTLAND – For the second time since 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor is suing the same major Pacific Northwest drywall company for failing to pay its workers $800,000 or more in overtime.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, to compel Westside Drywall Inc., and its owner, Moshen Salem, to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and to pay back wages to more than 100 employees denied legally required overtime.
The employer continues to commit willful and repeated violations of the FLSA, including failing to pay piece-rate employees the required time-and-one-half overtime premium when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The company is also failing to pay these workers for travel time, as the law requires, and continues to commit recordkeeping violations.
To date, the affected workers are due at least $800,000 in back wages and liquidated damages, an amount that may increase over the course of litigation. In 2010, the department sued Westside for similar violations that resulted in the payment of $200,000 to 62 drywall workers.
“We will not tolerate employers, like Westside Drywall, that cheat workers out of their hard-earned wages by ignoring their legal responsibilities,” said Thomas Silva, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Portland. “This lawsuit sends a clear message that the U.S. Department of Labor will not hesitate to ask a court to intervene and enforce the law when an employer willfully withholds wages. When employers fail to play by the rules, like Westside has done repeatedly, they harm workers and their families and gain an unfair advantage over their competitors who pay fair wages.”
Headquartered in Hubbard, Westside is one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest drywall companies. The company has contracts with well-known builders for many commercial and residential contracts.
The division enforces the FLSA that requires that covered, nonexempt workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus one-and-one-half times their regular wages for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.