Federal investigation recovers $221K in back wages, damages for 59 workers
BOISE – The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $221,053 in back wages and liquidated damages for 59 drywall installation workers in Idaho after their employer recklessly denied them overtime wages they earned and then lied to investigators about it.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division found Intermountain Drywall and Acoustical Inc. of Eagle intentionally underpaid its workers by denying them their rightfully overtime wages earned, a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. The employer repeatedly told investigators that the company paid employees overtime wages at time-and-one-half their rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours per week, as the law requires. Investigators determined the employer’s claims were untrue and that the employer had not paid workers overtime as claimed.
The investigation led to the division’s recovery of $110,526 in unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for the shortchanged workers. The reckless nature of the violations led the division to assess Intermountain Drywall and Acoustical with $22,560 in civil money penalties.
“Shortchanging employees who work long, hard hours to provide shelter and safety to so many is unfair and illegal. Then, Intermountain Drywall and Acoustical lied to federal investigators. It’s hard to understand how they thought that would end well,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Carrie Aguilar in Portland, Oregon. “In this case, the employer has learned that such actions have significant and costly consequences. We encourage other construction industry employers to avoid making similar mistakes.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.