Louisiana Contractor Must Pay Nearly $200K in Back Wages
After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Gomez Drywall Contractors Inc. – based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and operating in Louisiana since 2017 – has paid $178,766 in back wages to 108 employees for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) overtime and record keeping requirements.
WHD investigators found the framing and drywall construction company violated FLSA overtime requirements when the employer misclassified workers as independent contractors and subsequently failed to pay them overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The law requires payment for overtime hours at time and one-half employees' regular rates. Recordkeeping violations occurred when the employer failed to maintain time and payroll records as required by the FLSA.
The investigation also revealed that workers employed primarily by Gomez Drywall Contractors Inc. were also jointly employed by general contractor RSL Contractors LTD of Spring, Texas, who hired Gomez Drywall Contractors Inc. as a subcontractor. RSL cooperated in the investigation and agreed to release payments due to Gomez Drywall Contractors Inc. directly to the Department of Labor.
Pursuant to an agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor and the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), LWC auditors also participated in this investigation and contributed to its resolution.
"Violations like those found in this case are common in this industry, and are avoidable," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Troy Mouton, in New Orleans. "The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring that employees receive the wages they've earned and that employers compete on a level playing field."
The Department of Labor offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd/ including a search tool for workers who may be owed back wages collected by WHD.
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