Luis Cruz was glad to learn he was due back wages after a Wage and Hour Division investigation found his former employer had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. But when Luis’ check didn’t arrive, he reached out to the Labor Department to find out why.
Mary Oppliger, an investigator in the division’s Minneapolis district office, did some digging.
The security company, Metro Private Police, had submitted a form saying 22 workers were paid $13,560 in back wages for unpaid overtime. The company had reported that Luis had signed the proof of payment form, but Luis insisted he never signed the form or received the money.
Mary and other staff examined his signature, which caused them to suspect the signature on the proof of payment form may have been forged. Mary then met with the employer, who agreed to immediately pay Luis the back wages he was owed. And this time Luis actually received the money: a total of $2,727.
It’s rare for employers to falsify these kinds of documents or for the Wage and Hour Division to have to conduct this kind of post-investigation follow up, but we’re committed to making sure that workers receive the back wages owed to them.
“Those back wages made a real difference to me and helping me pay my bills,” Luis said. As a result, the single father of three was able to catch up on student loan payments and other obligations.
If you have questions about your company’s pay practices, or you are an employer who wants to be sure you are complying with the law, learn more on the Wage and Hour Division’s website or by calling 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243). You also can check to see if back wages are being held for you as the result of an investigation using the online tool, Workers Owed Wages.
Corey Walton is the community outreach and resource planning specialist for the Wage and Hour Division in Minneapolis.