US Labor Department signs agreement with Alabama Labor Department to reduce misclassification of employees

WASHINGTON – Officials of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the Alabama Department of Labor today signed a memorandum of understanding to protect the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as something other than employees, such as independent contractors. The memorandum of understanding represents a new effort on the part of the agencies to work together to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. The Alabama Department of Labor is the latest state agency to partner with the U.S. Labor Department.

In Fiscal Year 2013, WHD investigations resulted in more than $83,051,159 in back wages for more than 108,050 workers in industries, such as janitorial, food, construction, day care, hospitality and garment. WHD regularly finds large concentrations of misclassified workers in low-wage industries.

“Misclassification deprives workers of rightfully-earned wages and undercuts law-abiding businesses,” said Dr. David Weil, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. “This memorandum of understanding sends a clear message that we are standing together with the state of Alabama to protect workers and responsible employers and ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”

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Contractor Will Pay Thousands in Back Wages for Auburn Activities Center

Eleven workers underpaid for their effort on an Auburn activity center will share nearly $43,000 in wages owed to them under a settlement between the state and the construction company involved.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), Attorney General’s Office and RJL Construction LLC reached the agreement on May 8, prior to an administrative hearing. As part of the settlement, RJL is barred from working on future public works projects.

The Kent-based construction firm employed carpenters, iron workers, cement masons and power equipment operators who were wrongly paid at the rate of general laborers. It was concluded that the workers weren’t paid for overtime or the correct “prevailing wage,” the amount under state law the contractor is required to pay for specific work on a public project.

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