U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in West Virginia Construction Company Paying $242,039 in Back Wages and Damages
NITRO, WV – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Apex Pipeline Service Inc. has entered into a consent judgment with the Department requiring payment of $121,019 in back wages, with an equal amount in liquidated damages, to 243 employees at its Nitro, West Virginia, facility. The consent judgment was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia-Charleston Division.
WHD investigators found that - from April 2016 to March 2018 - Apex Pipeline Service Inc. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). WHD determined that the employer misclassified field office managers and safety coordinators as exempt from overtime, and subsequently failed to pay them overtime when they worked more than 40 hours per week. Apex Pipeline Services Inc. provides construction services to the oil and gas industry.
WHD also found the employer made per-diem payments to union employees based on their craft performed, regardless of the employees’ travel status or the distance from home to worksite. The employer also paid non-union employees per diem based on the employer’s own established rates. When an employer does not make payments to workers for legitimate travel, the law requires the employer to include those amounts in the employees’ regular rates when determining overtime payment. In neither case did the employer do so, resulting in payment of overtime at rates below those required by law. The employer also failed to maintain required records and to post a current FLSA poster.
“Our work continues to ensure that employees are paid the wages they have legally earned, and that employers compete on a level playing field,” said Wage and Hour District Director John DuMont in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to holding employers accountable when they fail to meet their responsibilities. We encourage all employers to reach out to us for compliance assistance.”
WHD is committed to providing employers with the tools they need to assist them in fulfilling their obligation to understand and comply with the variety of laws the Division enforces. Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/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 FLSA. 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.