PORTLAND, OR – A federal judge has entered a consent judgment ordering a Portland drywall company to pay $285,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 82 employees for overtime violations after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.
The judge also ordered Moshen Salem, owner of Westside Drywall Inc., to refrain from retaliating against its employees and to provide training on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to all of its supervisors within six months. The consent judgment ordered the company to pay $142,500 in back wages plus an equal sum of $142,500 in liquidated damages.
“The U.S. Department of Labor welcomes this resolution to restore back wages owed to these hard-working employees,” said Wage and Hour Division Director Thomas Silva, in Portland. “Our goal is to ensure that employers adhere to their responsibilities and to level the playing field in this highly competitive industry.”
Investigators found that the company failed to pay piece-rate insulation installers overtime at one-and-one-half times their regular rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week from 2012 to 2014. Workers paid on a piece rate are compensated per unit they produce, but are entitled to compensation at the overtime rate –one and one half times their regular rate of pay—for all hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Westside Drywall also failed to pay workers for time spent in travel between job sites, which should have been counted as work time.
In 2015, the Department’s Solicitor’s Office filed a lawsuit to compel Westside Drywall and Salem to comply with the FLSA after investigators found willful and repeat violations. The Department also sued Westside for similar violations in 2010. In that case, the Department recovered $200,000 for 62 drywall workers.
The FLSA requires that most employees receive one-and-one-half times their regular rates of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a work week and that employers maintain adequate and accurate records of employees’ wages and work hours.
The Division is committed to providing employers with the tools they need to understand and comply with the variety of labor laws the Division enforces in a variety of languages. It offers useful resources ranging from an interactive E-laws advisor to a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters. In addition, the Division’s Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialists conduct ongoing outreach activities to educate stakeholders, including employers, employees, business and labor groups, and professional associations, among others, with accessible, easy-to-understand information about their rights and responsibilities.
For more information about the FLSA, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Portland Office at 503-326-3057. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.