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News Brief

Washington housing management company to pay $239K to workers statewide

US Labor Department finds systemic wage violations by apartment complex employer

Employer: Cambridge Management, Inc.

Sites: 1916 64th Ave. West
Tacoma, Washington

Apartment complexes in Tacoma, Olympia, Chehalis, Spokane, Clarkson, Yakima, Pasco, Quincy, Kennewick, Richland Moses Lake, Sunnyside and Walla Walla

Investigation findings: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division examined Cambridge’s pay practices for on-site property managers and maintenance technicians at more than 100 rental communities throughout Washington. They found Cambridge Management, Inc. violated recordkeeping, minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act .

Specifically, the employer categorized salaried property managers and maintenance technicians improperly as exempt from overtime requirements. When the employer failed to record and pay for time that these employees worked after hours resolving issues for residents, overtime violations resulted when workers’ total hours exceeded 40 in a week. Minimum wage violations occurred when the employer took credits larger than allowed by law toward worker’ wages for company provided apartments. Additionally, when technicians were required to provide their own tools, those expenses resulted in minimum wage violations when they brought the workers’ effective wages below $7.25 per hour.

Resolution: Cambridge Management will pay $239,373 in unpaid minimum wages, overtime, and damages to 79 workers, and will comply with the FLSA in the future.  The employer has also agreed to change its pay and recordkeeping practices. Cambridge agreed to classify salaried employees properly, pay overtime after 40 hours per week to all non-exempt employees, discontinue claiming housing as part of the employees’ wages, pay for all hours worked and provide a tool allotment when employees begin their employment.

Quote: “Employees who work around the clock to provide clean and safe environments at these apartment complexes deserve to be paid properly for their efforts,” said Jeanette Aranda, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s office in Seattle. “Employers need to realize that simply paying an employee a salary does not mean that they are exempt from overtime. We will continue our efforts to educate and enforce labor standards on behalf of all workers, so that they take home every penny they have rightfully earned.”

Information: A property management company specializing in rental communities for low-income families, Cambridge Management, Inc. manages approximately 130 communities and more than 9,300 apartment homes in Washington, California, Hawaii, South Dakota, Florida and Georgia. 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
September 27, 2016
Release Number
16-1929-SAN
Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number
Contact: Jose Carnevali