MOBILE, AL – The illegal pay practices of a Louisville, Kentucky, staffing agency that provides aviation maintenance and repair workers to airlines nationwide shortchanged workers in Mobile, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that TechFlyte LLC – contracted by VT Mobile Aerospace to furnish workers – paid time-and-a-half for overtime at illegally reduced overtime pay rates. The employer also labeled a portion of employees’ wages as a per diem to obscure the true rate of pay. TechFlyte’s actions violated overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and denied 129 workers all of their legally earned wages.
The division’s investigation led to the recovery of $269,038 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, totaling $538,076 for the TechFlyte workers assigned to VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering.
The department also assessed $63,196 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of the violations. The division found identical violations related to the payment of per diem wages by TechFlyte LLC in Kansas City, Missouri, investigation in June 2020. In that case, the division recovered $18,755 in back wages for 22 workers.
“Using per diem pay practices to avoid or reduce overtime owed to employees is illegal,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling in Birmingham, Alabama. “When per diem payments are applied to pay as a screen, it’s a scheme that defrauds workers and taxpayers, and hurts law-abiding companies.”
“This practice negatively impacts workers and makes it hard to retain specialized technicians doing vital work for our nation,” Stripling said. “In particular, in the event of workplace injury and lay-offs, per diem workers may not be protected. Retirement, health insurance, paid leave for illness or vacation may not be available for them either.”
For information about laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Calls can be answered confidentially in over 200 languages. The Wage and Hour Division has a number of resources for workers and employers, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by Wage and Hour Division.