U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in a Phoenix Kitchen and Bath Company Paying $30,000 in Lost Wages, Penalties
PHOENIX, AZ – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Diamond Kitchen & Bath Inc. – based in Phoenix, Arizona – will pay $15,000 in civil penalties and an additional $15,000 in lost wages for violating federal law by requesting one of its employees to submit to a polygraph test.
WHD investigators found that Diamond Kitchen & Bath Inc.'s request for the employee to submit to the test failed to meet specific requirements under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) that would have allowed it. The employer instructed the employee to submit to a polygraph test after a client reported the employee appeared to be under the influence of marijuana when he arrived to work at their residence. The employer later unlawfully terminated the employee after he failed to show up for the test. Federal law would have allowed the employer to require the employee to submit to a drug test, but not a polygraph.
"The U.S. Department of Labor provides many tools to help employers comply with the law and understand how to avoid costly violations like those in this case," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Murray, in Phoenix, Arizona. "We encourage employers and employees with questions about any of their workplace rights or responsibilities to call us to speak confidentially with a trained Wage and Hour Division professional."
Enacted in 1988, the EPPA generally prohibits employers from requiring or requesting any employees or job applicants to take a lie detector test, and from discharging, disciplining or discriminating against an employee or prospective employee for refusing to take a test or for exercising other rights under the act. An employer may ask an employee to take a polygraph test only when there is a reasonable suspicion that the worker was involved in misconduct that resulted in economic harm to the employer.
For more information about the EPPA 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.
WHD's mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.