Last week, federal labor law violations were discovered in two businesses located in Birmingham and Montgomery during investigations.
The Fair Labor Standards Act was violated by Jennings Professional Services in Montgomery and Urban Air Trussville in Birmingham, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department’s Wage and Hour division in Birmingham uncovered the violations during their investigation.
In-home day and overnight healthcare business, Jennings Professional Services, has been found guilty of misclassifying 67 of its employees as independent contractors, which resulted in a violation of overtime wage standards. These employees, who provided care to the sick and elderly, were not compensated with the half-time overtime rate for hours worked exceeding the standard 40-hour workweek. Instead, they received a straight-time rate for all hours worked, while the healthcare provider failed to maintain accurate pay records.
Jennings Professional Services had to pay a hefty sum of $532,842, which included back wages and liquidated damages, as a result of investigations. According to Kenneth Stripling, the District Director of Wage and Hour Division in Birmingham, misclassifying employees was a significant issue that led to this penalty.
According to Stripling, misclassifying workers as independent contractors is a grave issue that results in employees being deprived of their rightful wages and benefits. He further emphasized that the Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding the rights of care workers who dedicate their lives to providing essential services to those in need. The department is focused on ensuring that these workers receive lawful wages and benefits in exchange for their hard work.
Upon conducting an investigation on Urban Air Trussville, an indoor adventure park, it was discovered that the establishment had violated child labor laws. The investigation revealed that the park had permitted 36 employees who were under the age of 16 to work beyond the legally permissible hours, including after 7 p.m. on school nights and after 9 p.m. in the summer. Moreover, these employees were allowed to work for more than 3 hours on school days and for more than 18 hours a week during a school week.
The park’s non-compliance with child labor laws resulted in a civil money penalty of $28,476, while a worker was also owed $145 in back wages. The investigation further discovered violations of overtime provisions.
Stripling expressed deep concern over the notable rise in child labor violations across the country. He stated that the Department of Labor is dedicated to safeguarding the well-being and education of young workers by enforcing laws that protect them. Stripling reiterated that it is crucial for young workers to have a safe and positive work experience.
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