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News Brief

Lawsuit seeks nearly $60K in back wages and damages for employees of debt settlement service referral company

US Labor Dept. alleges Valley View, Ohio company violated federal labor law

Date of Action: Sept. 16, 2015

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Lawsuit

Names of Defendants: Marketing Solutions Group Inc., d/b/a Wise Debt Relief; d/b/a GoWize; d/b/a Consumers Legal Center and Michael S. Gross

Allegations: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found Marketing Solutions Group Inc. and its owner, Michael Gross violated the FLSA's overtime and minimum wage provisions.

The Valley View, Ohio-based debt settlement referral service paid several employees on a commission basis. FLSA violations occurred when:

  • One debt counselor was not paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked.
  • Overtime was not paid to non-exempt debt counselors who worked more than 40 hours in a work week. Time records for workers were not accurately maintained.

Investigators found $29,450 in back wages are due to 21 current and former employees. The lawsuit seeks an additional $29,450 in liquidated damages for the workers.

Civil money penalties of $10,106 were assessed against Gross for repeated violations of the FLSA.

Resolution: The lawsuit seeks payment of the back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. It also seeks to enjoin the company from violating the FSLA in the future.

Quote: "A commission structure does not excuse an employer from ensuring that workers are paid at least the minimum wage and overtime," said George Victory, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. "We are committed to making these workers whole by getting the money they rightfully earned into their hands, and at the same time making clear to this and other employers that cheating their workers will not be tolerated."

Court: U.S. District Court for the District, Northern District of Ohio

Docket Number: 1:15-cv-01901, Perez v. Marketing Solutions Group Inc., d/b/a Wise Debt Relief d/b/a Gowize d/b/a Consumers Legal Center, Michael S. Gross

Wage and Hour Division
October 8, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number