Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
Elmwood Park, Illinois, masonry company ordered to pay more than $104K in back wages, damages to 20 workers misclassified as independent contractors
Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act consent judgment
Defendant(s): Expertize Masonry Inc., Pawel Walaszek
Investigation Findings: An investigation conducted by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Elmwood Park, Illinois-based Expertize Masonry Inc., and Walaszek violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions when they misclassified employees working as laborers, masonry workers, crew leaders and foreman on masonry jobs in the Chicago area as independent contractors.
Investigators found the misclassification resulted in workers receiving less than the legally required federal minimum wage, and led to the employer’s failure to pay the workers overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Additionally, the employer failed to maintain accurate time records as required by the FLSA.
Resolution: The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in federal court ordering Expertize Masonry Inc. and its owner, Pawel Walaszek to pay 20 workers a total of $104,115, which includes $52,057 in back wages for minimum wage and overtime violations, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages.
The defendants have also agreed to classify their workers as employees, to abide by the requirements of the FLSA in the future and to:
- Employ an accounting firm to audit its pay practices for two years;
- Provide each current and future employee information on the FLSA in Polish and English, and to provide them with the local telephone number of the Wage and Hour Division; and
- Provide detailed wage statements each pay period, allowing workers to verify their hours worked, earnings, and pay.
Quote: “Misclassification is a serious issue that we see far too often,” said Thomas Gauza, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Chicago. “These employees worked long hours without receiving minimum wage or overtime. This is illegal and unacceptable. Misclassification deprives workers of rightfully earned wages and undercuts law-abiding businesses. This judgment sends a clear message to employers that you cannot simply label employees as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime and other required benefits to your employees.”
Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
Docket Number: 1:15-cv-1745