U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Electrical Contractor Paying $249,278 in Back Wages to 117 Employees

NEW IBERIA, LA – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Ernest P. Breaux Electrical LLC – an electrical contractor based in New Iberia, Louisiana – has paid $249,278 in back wages to 117 employees for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime and recordkeeping requirements.

WHD investigators found Ernest P. Breaux Electrical LLC violated overtime FLSA provisions when the employer wrongly classified employees as independent contractors, and subsequently failed to pay them overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The employer also failed to keep accurate payroll records as required by federal law.

WHD also found that an employee recruited additional employees to perform labor at construction sites where the employer had contracts to perform electrical services. Although the employer considered the employee who did the recruiting to be an independent contractor, WHD investigators determined he was, in fact, an Ernest P. Breaux Electrical LLC employee, as were those he recruited. The employer has cooperated with the investigation and agreed to put measures in place to avoid future violations.

“Employers in the construction industry must pay their employees the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Troy Mouton, in New Orleans. “We want to help employers in construction, and in all industries, learn what federal labor laws require so that employees are paid what they have legally earned, and employers can avoid violations and compete on a level playing field.”

The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool for workers who may be owed back wages collected by WHD.