Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.
Date: July 31, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone: (312) 353-6976
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 13-1292-CHI
US Labor Department sues MPW Industrial Services in Lorain, Ohio, to secure back wages for 63 workers
LORAIN, Ohio -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit in federal district court against MPW Industrial Services Inc., and company president Monte Black, after an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division disclosed evidence of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. The department’s lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid minimum wage and overtime compensation for 63 current and former employees, and also requests the court to permanently enjoin the defendants from committing future violations of the FLSA.
“MPW Industrial has been found in violation of the FLSA previously for failing to compensate employees for all hours worked, such as travel time and shop time. Since its previous investigation, the company has still not taken steps to ensure employees are paid proper minimum wage and overtime compensation, in compliance with the FLSA,” said George Victory, the Wage and Hour district director in Columbus. “The filing of this lawsuit demonstrates the department’s commitment to pursuing violators vigorously to ensure compliance with the law. In an industrial area that has suffered economically in the past few years, these back wages will have a great impact on the workers.”
MPW Industrial Services provides industrial support services, such as cleaning services, to area steel mills. An investigation of the company’s Lorain establishment found that employees reported to the facility at the beginning of their shift to perform necessary tasks, such as loading trucks with personal protective gear and industrial cleaning equipment to use at steel mills. They then traveled in company vehicles to job sites throughout Ohio. Investigators found that defendants failed to record and compensate employees for time spent traveling between the company’s Lorain office and job sites, and failed to compensate for shop time and wait time at the company and job sites. This failure to pay for all hours worked resulted in minimum wage and overtime violations.
Additionally, investigators found evidence indicating that the company altered timekeeping records to show fewer work hours than actually performed by employees. The company also omitted other required employee information, in violation of the FLSA’s record-keeping requirements.
The company has refused to pay the back wages owed to the affected employees, resulting in the filing of this lawsuit by the department.
An investigation in 2009 at the firm’s Canton location found similar violations.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In general, hours worked includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer’s premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. Employers are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit http://www.dol.gov/whd.
Seth D. Harris, acting secretary of labor, United States Department of Labor v. MPW Industrial Services Inc. and Monte Black
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