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News Brief

US Labor Department sues Utah drywall contractor for minimum wage, willful overtime, recordkeeping violations

Violations stem from misclassifying employees as independent contractors

Date of Action: Oct. 3, 2016

Type of Action: Filing of lawsuit

Name of Defendants: Solid Drywall LLC
Solid Construction Group LLC
Frank LeBaron

Allegation: A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found Solid Drywall LLC and Solid Construction Group LLC of Midvale, Utah; and owner Frank LeBaron violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when they failed to pay minimum wage to 15 employees and pay the applicable overtime rate to 133 or more employees misclassified as independent contractors. The division is unable to identify all of the employees to whom Solid owes back wages because the company failed to keep required records for employees it funneled and paid through a labor provider.

The division also determined that company payroll records show it paid workers by check for up to 80 hours in a semi-monthly pay period, and paid a straight time rate in cash or with a prepaid debit card for all overtime hours worked in violation of the law. Investigators also found Solid paid some workers “off the books” in cash at the straight time rate for all hours worked including overtime hours. These violations demonstrate a willful disregard for the FLSA’s overtime requirements.

The department’s suit seeks to establish the employment relationship between Solid and a number of its employees; that the company paid minimum wage to some employees improperly; and that it denied overtime pay to all of the company’s employees.

In addition, the action by the Secretary of Labor seeks a court order to require Solid to:

  • Comply with the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions in the future.
  • Pay back wages owed to employees, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages.
  • Keep employee records as required by the FLSA.

Quote: “Construction work is hard enough without worrying about getting paid fairly,” said Betty Campbell, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “Solid Drywall and Solid Construction’s employees deserve to be paid for all the time they spend working, including overtime. This lawsuit shows the department’s commitment to root out and remedy these violations, protecting the workers and leveling the playing field for contractors who play by the rules.”

Resolution: The department seeks a court ruling for unpaid minimum wage and overtime compensation and an equal amount in liquidated damages for Solid employees. The suit also seeks the court to order Solid and related companies to abide by labor laws, maintain required time and pay records, and ultimately pay its employees accordingly.

Additional Information: The Wage and Hour Division continues to conduct investigations in low-wage industries where data and evidence show high rates of non-compliance, and where workers are less likely to complain. Both education and enforcement continue in the construction industry in which a high violation rate exists.

Court: U.S. District Court for the Utah Central Division

Docket Number: 2:16-cv-01025-BCW

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
October 13, 2016
Release Number
16-2012-DAL
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
Contact: Juan Rodriguez