Pesos on the dollar: US Department of Labor recovers $465K in back wages, damages from Carlsbad manufacturer who underpaid Mexican workers
CARLSBAD, CA – A federal investigation has recovered $465,993 in back wages and liquidated damages for 44 employees of a California medical injection molding manufacturer who denied them their legally earned wages, including overtime, by incorrectly classifying many as trainees.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined Providien Injection Molding Inc. paid a flat weekly salary in Mexican pesos to technicians who traveled from the company’s Tijuana, Mexico, location to work at its Carlsbad facility.
Investigators found the employer paid technicians as little as $3.29 per hour, a violation of minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, the division learned Providien violated federal overtime regulations by not paying overtime wages to technicians who worked an average of 45 hours each week. The employer also failed to maintain accurate time and payroll records as required.
The investigation also found Providien classified the technicians as trainees for the nearly 16 months they worked at the Carlsbad facility as the company prepared to relocate its manufacturing facility to Tijuana.
The division recovered $217,402 in overtime back wages for all 44 of the affected workers, and an additional $15,594 in minimum wages owed to 13 workers by the employer, plus $232,996 in liquidated damages for all 44 affected workers. The division also assessed Providien with a $25,935 civil money penalty for the willful nature of its violations.
“This case reflects an alarming trend where employers send employees across the border to work in the U.S. and then deny them the rights and protections of all U.S. workers,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Min Park-Chung in San Diego. “If you work in California, or anywhere in the U.S., and your employer is paying you less than the federal minimum wage – regardless of the currency they use – contact the Wage and Hour Division.”
The division and the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego are working together to ensure Mexican nationals in the region are aware of their labor rights as U.S. workers, including the right to report labor violations without fear of threats and intimidation. Consul General of Mexico Carlos González Gutierrez in San Diego encourages Mexican workers to contact the consulate at 619-231-3847 or at email@example.com for support, consular protection or free legal advice.
A subsidiary of Carlisle Companies Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona, Providien Injection Molding manufactures medical devices and components. In addition to Carlsbad, Providien has facilities in Sylmar and San Diego, and across the border in Tijuana.
The division enforces the law regardless of where a worker is from and can speak confidentially with callers in more than 200 languages. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact its 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. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for i-OS and Android devices, also available in Spanish, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.