A federal jury has entered a verdict against Randolph County Sheltered Workshop Inc. – doing business as Seneca Designs – and ordered the nonprofit organization to pay $119,040 in back wages to 34 employees. Entered in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia-Elkins Division, the jury found that the organization violated the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Employees at Randolph County Sheltered Workshop assemble fishing lures and lure packages for Leland’s Lures in Searcy, Arkansas.
The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week.
Section 14(c) of the FLSA authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay subminimum wages – wages less than the federal minimum wage – to employees with disabilities when the disability impairs their productivity for the work being performed.
Investigators found violations that resulted from the employer’s failure to obtain a certificate authorizing their payment of sub-minimum wages to employees with disabilities. Absent that certificate, employees were legally due the full federal minimum wage. Investigators also found that the employer failed to post information about rights for employees with disabilities paid at a sub-minimum wage, as the law requires.
The back wages received by these workers will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their lives. The ruling will also positively impact compliance and will help to level the playing field for employers that follow the law and pay their employees properly.
For more information about the FLSA and other wage and hour laws, or if you think you may be owed back wages, please contact an experienced FLSA attorney today.