Area glass company owes $46K in unpaid wages, penalties

A Greenville glass and window company owes more than $46,000 in unpaid wages, damages and penalties, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Labor Department.

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Greenville Architectural Glass misclassified employees working as window installers as independent contractors.

Officials said the company and its owner, Gail A. Cooper, failed to pay these employees overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In addition, for workers the employer did consider to be employees, on some occasions overtime was paid at an incorrect rate.

The Labor Department filed the lawsuit Oct. 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, West Division in Dayton.

The lawsuit seeks payment of more than $14,000 in back wages and an additional $14,000 in liquidated damages for 16 former and current employees of the Darke County company. It also seeks to enjoin the company from violating the FLSA in the future.

The Wage and Hour Division has also assessed civil penalties of $17,600 due to “repeat and willful violations” of the FLSA, officials said. In 2013, the company agreed to pay 25 employees more than $35,000 in back wages for similar violations at the same facility.

“Employers who continue to violate wage laws and short their employees harm not only the workers and their families, but compete unfairly against employers who obey the law,” said George Victory, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus, in a statement.

Cooper did not respond to a request for comment from this newspaper.

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, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

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