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News Brief

U.S. Labor Department finds Ohio glass company owes more than $46K in unpaid wages, damages and penalties

lawsuit filed on behalf of employees misclassified as independent contractors

Date of Action: Oct. 2, 2015

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Lawsuit

Names of Defendants: Greenville Architectural Glass LLC, Gail A. Cooper

Allegations: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that Greenville Architectural Glass misclassified employees working as window installers as independent contractors. The company and its owner, Gail A. Cooper, failed to pay these employees overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week in violation of the FLSA. Additionally, for workers the employer did consider to be employees, on some occasions overtime was paid at an incorrect rate.

Resolution: The lawsuit seeks payment of more than $14,000 in back wages and an additional equal amount in liquidated damages for 16 former and current employees of the Greenville, Ohio company. It also seeks to enjoin the company from violating the FLSA in the future.

The Wage and Hour Division has also assessed civil money penalties of $17,600 due to repeat and willful violations of the FLSA. In 2013, the company agreed to pay 25 employees more than $35,000 in back wages for similar violations at the same facility.

"Quote: "Employers who continue to violate wage laws and short their employees harm not only the workers and their families, but compete unfairly against employers who obey the law.," said George Victory, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. "Other employers who may be paying workers as independent contractors need to review the laws that apply to their businesses and ensure that they are treating employees as required. Generally, if you are directing their work schedule, providing tools, vehicles and other materials necessary to complete jobs that your company has contracted — you are their employer."

Information: The misclassification of employees as independent contractors cheats workers out of wages and benefits to which they are entitled to under the law, subsequently hurting our economy. A misclassified employee — one considered by the employer to be an independent contractor or some other non-employee status — is generally denied minimum wage, overtime, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and other workplace protections. Employers often intentionally misclassify workers to reduce labor costs and avoid employment taxes. By not complying with the law, these employers have an unfair advantage over competitors who pay fair wages, taxes due, and ensure wage and other protections for their employees. These practices lower standards for all workers, especially in highly competitive markets and industries where employers try to reduce overhead, often at the expense of their workers.

The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, West Division in Dayton

Docket Number: 3:15-cv-00350-TMR.

Wage and Hour Division
October 15, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number