Cleaning Employer Pays Over $1 Million for FLSA Dirty Laundry

A Massachusetts cleaning contractor recently agreed to pay more than $1 million to 149 workers for FLSA violations.

A consent judgment requires Ward's Cleaning Service Inc. and its owner/president, to pay $1,033,877 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages. The employer provides night cleaning crews, housekeepers and dishwashers to about 85 hotels and restaurants in the Boston area. The judgment also requires changes to the employer's payroll system.

“Employers who willfully underpay their employees and falsify records harm not only the employees and their families, but the business community as well,” said Carlos Matos, director of the Boston District Office of the DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

The WHD investigators examined a period of more than three years and discovered overtime and record-keeping violations. Many illegal approaches were used:

  • They simply failed to pay overtime for weeks in excess of 40 hours worked
  • They directed employees to use multiple timecards with different names
  • Timecards were altered
  • Some employees were paid under false names
  • Cash payments were sometimes made

This employer was a repeat offender. In 1993, it paid $172,000 in back wages for FLSA errors. The recent judgment calls for payment of back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages and other significant penalties. The company must hire a qualified independent consultant with specific knowledge of the FLSA to create a payroll system that will ensure compliance.

Wage-and-hour complaints are increasingly common, and they often start with record-keeping violations caused by a lack of a quality time and attendance tracking system. If you need attendance management software that can make you fully FLSA compliant, please review the features of TimeForce from Infinisource. For more information, please click here.


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