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US Labor Department sues private investigative agency for unpaid wages plus additional damages

More than 200 workers due back wages

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Lawsuit

Name of Defendant: Confidential Services Inc., Beverlee Sokol, and Katrina Levy Zidel

Allegations: The Wage and Hour Division lawsuit alleges the Columbus, Ohio-based company and owners violated the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements by paying employees a flat commission that in many workweeks did not cover at least the minimum wage for the hours they worked. They also failed to reimburse agents for mileage, and made deductions from their pay for licensing fees, damaged vehicles, and other deduction. These deductions reduced employee's pay below minimum wage.

The allegations are based on a Wage and Hour Division investigation which found that Confidential Services failed to pay repossession agents, investigators and assistants the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and overtime at time and a half after 40 hours in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Investigators also found that Confidential Services Incorporated misclassified assistants as independent contractors. This practice resulted in these employees receiving less than minimum wage for all hours worked and not being paid overtime at time and one half their hourly rates for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. In addition, private investigators, who worked in the office and in the field, were not compensated for overtime work. The company also failed to maintain accurate records of all hours worked by employees and pay rates.

The Wage and Hour Division estimates that 171 employees are due back wages for minimum wage violations and 206 employees are due back wages for overtime violations.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and seeks the payment of all back wages due plus an equal amount in liquidated damages. It also seeks to enjoin the company and its owners from violating the FLSA in the future.

Quote: "Restoring these earned wages will make a meaningful difference in the lives for these workers and their families. Employee misclassification and wage violations not only deprives workers of their hard earned wages, it also undercuts law abiding businesses," said George Victory, District Director, Wage and Hour Division Columbus Office.

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division

Docket Number: 2:15-cv-02648-MHW-NMK

Wage and Hour Division
September 3, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
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