SAN DIEGO – A federal investigation of a San Diego environmental remediation and demolition contractor’s pay practices has recovered $363,444 in back wages and liquidated damages for 125 employees denied their rightful overtime and minimum wages.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found Watkins Environmental Inc. did not pay hourly employees for pre-work time spent preparing for jobs and attending required training, which led to minimum wage and overtime violations. Investigators also determined the employer’s employee records were not accurate and complete, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Specifically, the division recouped $181,722 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for the affected employees. Watkins Environmental also paid the department $28,462 in civil money penalties for its reckless disregard of FLSA requirements.

“The violations found in this investigation are all-too-common in the construction industry, and the U.S. Department of Labor will hold employers accountable for not paying employees their legally earned wages,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Min Park-Chung in San Diego. “Employers who withhold workers’ wages make it harder for their employees to make ends meet. At the same time, these employers gain an unfair advantage over industry competitors who abide by the law.”

Incorporated in California in 2011, Watkins Environmental Inc. provides commercial and residential asbestos, paint and lead removal, mold remediation, and demolition services in San Diego and the surrounding areas.

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. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers confidentially in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – free and now available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

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