DES MOINES, IA – The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $125,000 in back wages for 34 workers after an investigation found a subcontractor paid workers the incorrect prevailing wage rate. The employer paid workers the pipe layer rate when they performed plumbing work on a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development apartment project under federal contract in Des Moines.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Ja-Ra Inc. – operating as AJ Plumbing in Des Moines – a subcontractor on the Nexus at Gray’s Landing LLC National Housing Act project, violated the Davis Bacon and Related Acts and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In consent findings filed with the Office of Administrative Law Judges in Boston, workers will receive $106,000 in back wages from funds issued under the U.S. Housing and Urban Development contract and currently held by the Wage and Hour Division.

Additionally, in a consent judgment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, AJ Plumbing will pay 27 of the 34 employees $19,000 in overtime back wages for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Investigators found the company provided time off in lieu of overtime pay to employees who worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Federal law requires overtime be paid at a rate of time and one-half the employees’ rate of pay. AJ Plumbing agreed to future compliance with federal labor law as part of the judgment.

“Enforcement of prevailing wage laws ensures that federal contracting does not depress local wages, that workers receive the wages they are due, and that responsible, law-abiding contractors are able to compete for federal contracts,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Marcy Boldman in Des Moines, Iowa. “Federal contractors must be certain that they and their subcontractors pay employees working on federal projects the accurate prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits and correctly calculate all pay due. The Wage and Hour Division will remain vigilant in its enforcement of prevailing wage laws.”

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

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U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges, Washington, D.C.

Case: No. 2020-DBA-00004

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa, Central Division

Civil Action File No.: 4-20-cv-64

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