News Release

Kentucky Contractor to Pay $101,558 in Back Wages, Penalties After U.S. Department of Labor Finds H-2B Visa Program Violations

RINEYVILLE, KY – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Administrative Law Judges has signed an agreement between the department and E.C. Construction Inc. in which the company will pay $24,755 in civil penalties for its violations of H-2B visa program labor provisions. As a result of a Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation, the Rineyville, Kentucky-based stonemason contractor will also pay four employees $76,803 in back wages.

A WHD investigation determined that E.C. Construction required prospective U.S. workers to complete drug testing when they did not require testing for H-2B workers, violating the H-2B visa program prohibition against preferential treatment. The contractor also incorrectly classified workers as helpers while they performed the work of brickmasons or blockmasons, a designation that resulted in E.C. Construction paying those workers at a lower rate than required for the work they actually performed. In addition, WHD found the contractor failed to maintain accurate records of the employees’ earnings and did not display the required H-2B poster.

“Employers participating in the H-2B visa program must strictly adhere to all of the program’s provisions in an effort to safeguard American jobs,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils, in Louisville, Kentucky. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers and protecting vulnerable workers from being paid less than what they have legally earned.”

The Department’s Wage and Hour Division offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

For more information about the H-2B Visa Program and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). WHD offers a search tool if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

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.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
June 11, 2020
Release Number
20-851-ATL
Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
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