Georgia Resource Center to Pay $157,473 to Employees After U.S. Department of Labor Uncovers Federal Labor Law Violations
VALDOSTA, GA – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Lowndes Advocacy Resource Center Inc. – operating as LARC Inc. in Valdosta, Georgia – will pay $157,473 in back wages to 130 employees for failing to meet the requirements of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). LARC Inc. also violated the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA).
WHD found that LARC Inc. incorrectly rounded two of the prevailing wage rates it used to determine employees' pay, resulting in underpayment under the FLSA. The employer also deducted break times of 15 minutes from the daily work hours of some employees, and failed to count travel time and time employees spent donning personal protection equipment as work time. Each of these instances of unrecorded work time resulted in underpayment to employees. The inaccurate records of employees' work hours also resulted in a recordkeeping violation.
WIOA requires that individuals with disabilities age 24 or younger complete pre-employment transition services, vocational rehabilitation services, and career counseling, information, and referral services before consideration for work at sub-minimum wages under the FLSA's Section 14(c). WHD found that the center failed to provide the documentation showing all three of the requirements had been completed by the designated state unit prior to employees being paid a sub-minimum wage.
"The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all workers receive the wages legally due to them, and to protecting workers with disabilities from exploitation in the workplace. We will continue to provide education and tools to employers to help them understand their responsibilities and how to comply with the law," said Wage and Hour District Director Eric Williams, in Atlanta, Georgia. "We encourage employers to reach out to their local Wage and Hour Division office for assistance in avoiding potential violations."
Section 14(c) of the FLSA is designed to offer more job opportunities for workers with disabilities when their disability affects their productive capacity for the work being performed. After applying for and receiving a certificate from WHD, the employer may determine their employees' productivity and calculate the appropriate Section 14(c) wage as a percentage of the rate for experienced employees performing similar jobs in the area.
For more information about the FLSA, Section 14(c), and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.