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Paying The Local Prevailing Wage For Federal Contractors

Drivers for a D.C.-area Medicaid contractor have filed a federal lawsuit requesting class action status against their employer for failing to pay them minimum wage and overtime.

The employer, a private medical transportation organization, works with subcontractors to carry out its contract with the District of Columbia to provide non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid patients. However, the employer is responsible for making sure all contract employees are paid in accordance with federal and local wage and hour laws.

The lawsuit contains allegations that drivers regularly worked over 60 hours per week in shifts from 5:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., six days a week, without rest or lunch breaks. Employees allegedly received salaries of $325 to $475 per week—around $3.61 per hour—which is well below D.C. and federal minimum wage requirements. The lawsuit further alleges the employer did not pay legally mandated overtime.

The lawsuit further alleges one driver, who repeatedly requested to be paid for all hours worked, was terminated.

The lawsuit seeks class action status for hundreds of drivers, as well as back pay, liquidated damages, and attorney fees. "D.C. Medicaid Contractor Accused of Paying Employees as Little as $3.61/Hour in Federal Suit Filed by Cohen Milstein and Public Citizen," www.businesswire.com (Jul. 13, 2017).


Commentary

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage, as well as overtime of time-and-a-half the normal wage rate for hours worked over 40 per week.

Many states and cities have minimum wage rates higher than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In such cases, employers must pay the higher wage amount.

The Davis-Bacon Act further requires contractors working with the federal government to pay no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. Such contractors are legally responsible for making sure any subcontractors pay workers the required wage, as this case shows.

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