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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: DOL-WH-10-1783-DAL

Date: 

Jan. 26, 2011

Contact: 

Elizabeth Todd - Juan Rodriguez

Phone: 

972-850-4710 - 972-850-4709

US Labor Department takes legal action against emergency transportation companies in Houston to recover more than $282,000 in back wages


HOUSTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Bayou City E.M.S. Group Inc., affiliate emergency transportation company Willowbrook E.M.S. Group Inc., and the companies' owners and officers for failing to pay $282,594 in overtime compensation to 53 drivers and dispatchers as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Both companies are located in Houston and are jointly engaged in providing emergency and non-emergency medical transportation services to the general public.

"There is no excuse for denying workers their rightful wages, and this lawsuit demonstrates that the Labor Department will not hesitate to take action to protect workers when labor laws are not being implemented correctly," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator of the department's Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.

The suit resulted from an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division in Houston, which found that employees of both companies were working for one enterprise and that drivers and dispatchers performed the same duties, used the same time clock and reported to the same supervisor. Although the employees were required to work 24-hour shifts for both companies, totaling 96 hours a week, they did not receive overtime premium pay as required by law.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

The Labor Department’s complaint was filed in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, against Bayou City E.M.S. Group Inc.; Eduardo Casas, Bayou City’s owner and president; Thomas Ray, Bayou City’s director of operations; Willowbrook E.M.S. Group Inc.; Yolanda Espinosa, Willowbrook’s owner and president; Roy Casas, Willowbrook’s director of operations; and Melissa McDugle, business administrator for both companies.

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 the division’s district office in Houston at 713-339-5500. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.