Recently, a service provider in Alabama failed to properly pay its disabled employees less than minimum wage. There is a legal provision that allows employers to pay people with disabilities what’s known as subminimum wage. In order to do so, they must follow certain procedures and have special certificates from the Labor Department. However, this Alabama service provider failed to comply with these requirements.
Because of its violations to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor ordered Montgomery Arc and two of its subsidiaries to pay $541,597 in back wages to 80 employees. Labor officials determined that workers at the facilities were owed the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
In order for employees with disabilities to be paid subminimum wage, the company must provide the workers with career counseling or other services from the state vocational rehabilitation agency or information about opportunities for self-advocacy, self-determination, and peer-mentoring training. Montgomery Arc and it’s subsidiaries failed to provide any of these services to its disabled employees.
Additionally, Montgomery Arc and it’s subsidiaries did not conduct a prevailing wage survey or adjust pay annually. Investigators from the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division found that the employers did not keep proper records of how many hours their employees worked. They also automatically deducted 30 minutes each day for meal breaks, even if the employees did not take a break to eat.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all workers receive the wages legally due to them and to protecting workers with disabilities from exploitation in the workplace,” said Kenneth Stripling, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour district director in Birmingham, Alabama. “We will continue to provide education and tools to employers to help them understand their responsibilities and how to comply with the law.”