Employees at United Plastics manufacturing plants in Sardis, Miss., and Leominster, Mass., will receive $1.4 million in back wages and “liquidated damages” as part of a consent judgment and order obtained in federal court by the U.S. Department of Labor.
More than half, 298, of the total of 566 workers work at the Sardis plant.
An investigation by the department found that the Leominster-based manufacturer and ASI Staffing Group Corp., which supplied contract labor to United Plastics systematically underpaid employees at both plants over approximately a three-year period by denying them the overtime pay they were entitled to under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The investigation found that to avoid paying proper overtime, ASI Group developed a scheme under which they created additional company names. When employees worked more than 40 hours in a week, the overtime hours were recorded under a separate company name, and some or all of their overtime hours were paid at straight time rates. These contract employees worked as machine operators, maintenance workers, molding technicians, color mixers and quality control workers, often more than 48 hours per week.
“Employers who use staffing agencies as a cover for short-changing workers of their hard-earned wages are breaking the law, plain and simple,” said Mark Watson, Jr. the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrator.
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