Salt Lake City construction company ordered to pay back wages
Date of Action: May 8, 2017
Type of Action: U.S. District Court decision
Name of Defendants: Foreclosure Connection, Inc.
Jason Williams, owner
Findings: U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Kimball for the District of Utah, Central Division, has ruled that workers of Foreclosure Connection, Inc. – a Salt Lake City company that acquires, remodels, rents and re-sells foreclosure properties – are employees, and not independent contractors as the defendants alleged. The court also found the company and its owner, Jason Williams, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when they willfully retaliated against employees and interfered with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigation. The division found the employer threatened workers and instructed them to withhold information and records from its investigator.
The court has ordered the defendants to pay $161,985 in back wages and damages to the affected employees.
During its investigation, the division determined the defendants had terminated two workers who asked the division about unpaid overtime. The employer also refused to provide the division with records it requested, and was generally uncooperative with investigators; claiming that all of its workers were independent contractors not subject to the FLSA. The investigation uncovered voice recordings in which the employer threatened workers and instructed them to withhold information and records.
Quote: “Workers should not have to fear their employer’s retaliation when they exercise their rights under the law,” said Betty Campbell, Southwest regional Wage and Hour Division administrator. “The court’s decision reaffirms the department’s conclusion – the individuals are, in fact, employees with rights that protect them from workplace retaliation. This case is an example of our commitment to protecting workers and to leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers.”
Additional Information: For more information about compliance with the FLSA, visit www.dol.gov/whd/, or call 866-4US-WAGE.
Civil Action Number: 2:15-cv-00653-DAK