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News Brief

Idaho home energy contractor to pay $41K in back wages to 44 employees

Elite Energy Efficiency misclassified workers as ‘independent contractors’

Employers: Elite Energy Efficiency

Sites: 669 Quinn Road #1, Pocatello, Idaho

Investigation findings: Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Elite Energy Efficiency violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by misclassifying employees as independent contractors even though:

  • Workers performed services integral to the business as insulation technicians. 
  • The technicians had little opportunity for profit and loss. The employer simply them paid set piece rates.
  • The workers had little investment in the business.
  • The technicians’ skills lacked a specialty nature since other technicians trained them. 
  • The work relationship was permanent.
  • The employer controlled the manner in which employees performed the work.

The employer failed to pay employees for hours they regularly worked beyond 40 in a work week, and the employer failed to maintain records of hours of work. Overtime violations occurred as a result of the employer paying straight time for all hours worked. 

Resolution: Elite Energy will comply with the FLSA, correctly classify technicians as employees and will pay $41,000 in back wages to 44 employees.  

Quote: “Elite Energy Efficiency went to great lengths to avoid paying employees their rightful wages, instead claiming employees were independent contractors,” said Thomas Silva, director of the Portland District Office. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to changing this kind of behavior in the construction industry.  We will ensure that hard-working, vulnerable workers are paid correctly, and that contractors who abide by the law aren’t hurt competitively by those who violate it.”

Background: Elite Energy Efficiency is a home-energy efficiency contractor operating in Idaho, Colorado, Minnesota, Utah and Virginia.

Information: 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/.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
April 6, 2016
Release Number
16-0629-SAN
Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number
Contact: Jose Carnevali