Employer: Town and Country Inc., Cleveland, Missouri
Actions: Filing of Fair Labor Standards Act complaint in federal court
Request for administrative judicial hearing
Courts: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division
Office of Administrative Law Judges
Investigation findings: On March 28, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri alleging Town and Country Inc. and its owner, Gabriel Myers, violated federal overtime and recordkeeping requirements. The company is a painting contractor in the metro-Kansas City, Missouri, area.
The complaint seeks a total of $102,774 — representing $51,387 in unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages — for 29 painters.
After a review of the employers’ payroll records from Dec. 1, 2019, to Nov. 30, 2021, the Wage and Hour Division alleges the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when it:
Did not pay overtime at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for hours over 40 in a work week.
Incorrectly recorded hours worked within a pay period, thus denying some employees proper overtime pay for hours over 40 in a workweek.
Town and Country, and Myers refused to resolve the violations administratively which led the department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in Kansas City, Missouri to litigate the case and file the complaint.
In another action involving the company, Town and Country requested a hearing before the Office of Administrative Law Judges on Dec. 12, 2022, after the department’s investigation also determined that the company violated the federal H-2B Visa program by misclassifying eight painters — employed under the temporary nonimmigrant worker visa program — as painters’ helpers which denied them the hourly wages for painters. The division found these workers are owed $93,210 in back wages, and assessed the employer $26,052 in civil money penalties for its violations.
The H-2B visa program permits U.S. companies to hire foreign workers for non-agricultural or other jobs in the U.S. for a one-time occurrence, such labor needed on a seasonal, peak load or intermittent basis.
The Office of Administrative Law Judges will attempt to mediate the H-2B case and proceed to litigation if needed.
Quote: “Overtime violations are found much too often in our investigations, particularly among employees who may not understand their workers’ rights under federal law,” said Wage and Hour District Director Reed Trone in Kansas City, Missouri. “Every worker in the U.S. — including workers with temporary guest visas — must be paid as federal wage laws require. Town and Country knew its obligations as an H-2B program employer but failed to pay proper wages to people they brought to the U.S. to work as painters, instead illegally paying them as helpers at lower wages.”
Background: 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 and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish –to ensure hours and pay are accurate.