US Labor Department seeking Tempe plastering contractor’s current, former workers who may be owed back wages for work since 2015
PHOENIX, AZ – The U.S. Department of Labor wants to hear from current and former employees of a Tempe stucco and plastering contractor as part of long-running investigation and lawsuit over continuous and egregious alleged overtime and recordkeeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The department is seeking to recover back wages that Valley Wide Plastering may owe to those now working for the contractor or who have worked for the them since October 2015. Those now employed or employed by Valley Wide at any time since October 2015 should contact the department’s Wage and Hour Division at (602) 296-9723 for information about the case.
The division first investigated Valley Wide Plastering in 2012 for failing to maintain accurate records. A subsequent lawsuit filed by the department in 2018 alleged that the company failed to pay overtime to employees it paid on both a “piece rate” and hourly basis. Since the 2018 filing, the department alleges that Valley Wide Plastering has continued to fabricate and alter time records to hide the total number of hours its employees worked. The department also alleges the employer began doctoring payroll to make it appear that it had paid overtime when, in fact, Valley Wide Plastering continues to deny workers’ wages they have legally earned.
The U.S. District Court in Arizona granted the department’s motion for a preliminary injunction Feb. 5, 2021, to prevent Valley Wide Plastering from continuing to violate recordkeeping requirements. The court found substantial evidence that Valley Wide Plastering, both before and during the litigation, inaccurately recorded employee work hours “by filling in false hours or by manually altering the number of hours employees record without adequate justification.”
The court also found evidence that showed the defendants have reduced “the regular rates of their employees to make it appear as if overtime is paid when it is not,” with evidence also showing defendants had failed to “accurately record wages paid to their employees by issuing checks from non-payroll accounts.” The court ordered Valley Wide Plastering to reform its recordkeeping practices and to notify its workers of their rights.
The department 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 and confidential calls to local Wage and Hour Division offices.
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