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U.S. Department of Labor Recovers $3.2 Million in Back Wages, Damages, And Penalties from Portland, Oregon, Courier Service
PORTLAND, OR – The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon has entered a consent judgment against Gerald (“Jerry”) Brazie, Jr. and three Portland, Oregon-based companies he controls, requiring that their drivers be paid $3,087,100 in wages and liquidated damages for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The judgment also requires the delivery service to pay $112,900 in civil money penalties.
The judgment acts on a lawsuit the U.S. Department of Labor brought in December 2016 against Brazie and his companies – Senvoy LLC, Driver Resources LLC and ZoAn Management Inc. – seeking to remedy the systemic denial of minimum wages and overtime pay to couriers driving under the Senvoy name since at least 2010. Brazie illegally required these Senvoy LLC-controlled drivers to sign contracts with Driver Resources LLC, a corporate shell entity managed by ZoAn Management Inc. Ultimately, the violations arose from Senvoy LLC’s practice of classifying its couriers as independent contractors, rather than as employees. As a result, Senvoy LLC failed to pay its couriers for all hours worked and charged the couriers a host of expenses, including the cost of gas and other costs attendant to using the drivers’ vehicles for Senvoy LLC’s delivery work.
“The facts here were clear and unequivocal: these drivers, under unambiguous and long-settled federal law, are and were Senvoy LLC employees,” said Regional Solicitor Janet Herold. “It is not just employees here who were cheated of millions of dollars in wages due, but also taxpayers who bore the burden of Senvoy LLC’s unlawful practices as the company used this unlawful practice to avoid payment of federal and state payroll taxes. Employers that do so enjoy an unfair and unlawful advantage over their law-abiding competitors, to the significant detriment of both the employees and taxpayers.”
In addition to the recovery of $3.2 million in unpaid back wages, liquidated damages, and penalties, the judgment, entered October 12, 2018, orders the defendants to classify immediately all drivers as employees who are entitled to the full payment of the federal minimum wage, overtime pay, and reimbursement for work-related expenses, such as gas and use of drivers’ personal vehicles. Further, to ensure that Senvoy LLC remains in compliance with the FLSA, the defendants must obtain a third-party audit of their employment practices within six months and issue notices to their workers and managers regarding employees’ rights under the FLSA.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by WHD.