Labor Department Requiring Back Pay For Subminimum Wage Violations
Federal officials are cracking down after a service provider failed to properly pay individuals with disabilities who were working for less than minimum wage.
The U.S. Department of Labor said that Montgomery Arc in Montgomery, Ala. and two of its subsidiaries — Hanan Center and McInnis Recycling Center — will pay $541,597 in back wages to 80 employees.
The back pay is due to violations related to section 14(c) of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The provision allows employers that have special certificates from the Labor Department to pay people with disabilities what’s known as subminimum wage if they follow certain procedures.
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According to the Labor Department, Montgomery Arc and the subsidiaries did not provide workers with disabilities with career counseling or other services from the state vocational rehabilitation agency or information about opportunities for self-advocacy, self-determination and peer-mentoring training as is required in order for people to be paid subminimum wage.
In addition, the employers did not conduct a prevailing wage survey or adjust pay annually, the Labor Department said. They also did not keep proper records of the hours worked and automatically deducted 30 minutes each day for meal breaks even if employees did not take a break to eat, investigators from the agency’s Wage and Hour Division found.
Because of the violations, labor officials determined that workers at the facilities were owed the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all workers receive the wages legally due to them and to protecting workers with disabilities from exploitation in the workplace,” said Kenneth Stripling, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour district director in Birmingham, Ala. “We will continue to provide education and tools to employers to help them understand their responsibilities and how to comply with the law.”