News Release

Proviso Township High School District 209 agrees to pay $111K in back wages, damages to 46 security guards denied overtime

US Department of Labor assesses $54K in penalties after 4th investigation

FOREST PARK, IL – For the fourth time since 2007, Proviso Township High School District 209 has been found in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, this time for failing to pay public school security guards overtime wages.

Under terms of a consent judgement entered on Jan. 17, 2024 by District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly of the Northern District of Illinois, the school district will pay $111,516 — $55,758 in overtime back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages — to 46 employees and was assessed $54,602 in civil money penalties for its repeated violations. To resolve its violations, Proviso will employ an electronic timekeeping system for its nonexempt workers, provide FLSA training to administrators, supervisors and non-exempt employees, and comply with federal wage laws in the future.

The action follows litigation filed by the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Chicago on Dec. 21, 2023, prompted by an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that determined the Forest Park-based school district did not pay at least 46 guards overtime at time and one-half their regular rate-of-pay for hours over 40 in a workweek from at least April 13, 2020 through April 12, 2022. Instead, the school district paid them a set weekly rate for all hours worked, including those at after-school sporting events, extracurricular activities and Board of Education meetings on evenings and weekends. 

“A public institution that fails to follow the law repeatedly is also failing its students and other stakeholders by setting a poor example of non-compliance with federal law and by incurring penalties drawn from public funds,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Tom Gauza in Chicago. “The Department of Labor will take all available actions to continue to hold employers accountable for paying their contracted employees their fully earned wages.” 

The division investigated the school district for overtime violations in 2007, 2011 and 2015. The district paid a total of $26,584 to 45 employees as a result of those three investigations.

Proviso Township High School District 209 operates three high schools – Proviso East, Proviso West and Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy – that serve 10 communities in western Cook County. 

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 and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, workers and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.

Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

Wage and Hour Division
January 17, 2024
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Media Contact: Scott Allen
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Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
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