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Two Alabama businesses found in violation of labor laws

Investigations into two businesses in Birmingham and Montgomery were found in violation of federal labor law last week.

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Investigations into two businesses in Birmingham and Montgomery were found in violation of federal labor law last week.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Jennings Professional Services in Montgomery and Urban Air Trussville in Birmingham each violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. Investigators from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division in Birmingham discovered the violations.

Jennings Professional Services, an in-home day and overnight healthcare business, misclassified 67 employees as independent contractors violating overtime wage standards. The workers, who took care of the sick or elderly, did not receive the half-time overtime rate for hours worked that surpassed the 40 hour workweek. Instead the workers were paid a straight-time rate for all hours worked and the healthcare provider failed to keep accurate pay records.

Investigators recovered $532,842 in back wages and liquidated damages from Jennings Professional Services. Kenneth Stripling, the Wage and Hour Division District Director in Birmingham, commented on why misclassifying employees was a major problem.

“Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is a serious problem that deprives employees of their rightful wages and benefits,” Stripling stated. “The Department of Labor is determined to protect the rights of the nation’s care workers — the people devoted to providing vital services to those in need – and make sure they receive lawful wages and benefits in return for the hard work they do.”

After investigating Urban Air Trussville, an indoor adventure park, the business was found to be in violation of child labor laws. According to the findings the park allowed 36 employees under 16 years old to to work after 7 p.m. on a school night, after 9 p.m. in the summer, more than 3 hours on school days and more than 18 hours a week during a school week.

The adventure park was assessed a civil money penalty of $28,476 to address the violations of child labor law. One worker was also owed $145 in back wages and the investigation also found there were violations of overtime provisions.

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“The significant increase in child labor violations nationwide is troubling,” Stripling said. “Here in the Southeast and across the nation, the Department of Labor is committed to making sure young workers can experience the world of work without jeopardizing their safety or education by enforcing the laws that protect them.”

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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