The Case of the Shaky Signature


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Working for You

Luis Cruz was glad to learn he was due back wages after a Wage and Hour Division investigation found his former employer had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. But when Luis’ check didn’t arrive, he reached out to the Labor Department to find out why.

Mary Oppliger, an investigator in the division’s Minneapolis district office, did some digging.

The security company, Metro Private Police, had submitted a form saying 22 workers were paid $13,560 in back wages for unpaid overtime. The company had reported that Luis had signed the proof of payment form, but Luis insisted he never signed the form or received the money.

Luis Cruz at his new security job Luis at his new security job

Mary and other staff examined his signature, which caused them to suspect the signature on the proof of payment form may have been forged. Mary then met with the employer, who agreed to immediately pay Luis the back wages he was owed. And this time Luis actually received the money: a total of $2,727.

It’s rare for employers to falsify these kinds of documents or for the Wage and Hour Division to have to conduct this kind of post-investigation follow up, but we’re committed to making sure that workers receive the back wages owed to them.

“Those back wages made a real difference to me and helping me pay my bills,” Luis said. As a result, the single father of three was able to catch up on student loan payments and other obligations.

If you have questions about your company’s pay practices, or you are an employer who wants to be sure you are complying with the law, learn more on the Wage and Hour Division’s website or by calling 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243). You also can check to see if back wages are being held for you as the result of an investigation using the online tool, Workers Owed Wages.

Editor’s note: The DOL Working for You series highlights the Labor Department’s programs in action. View other posts in the series here.

Corey Walton is the community outreach and resource planning specialist for the Wage and Hour Division in Minneapolis.

El caso de la extraña firma

Luis Cruz se alegró al saber que le iban a dar salarios atrasados luego de que una investigación de la División de Horas y Salarios encontró que su antiguo empleador había violado la Ley de Normas Razonables de Trabajo. Pero tras esperar y esperar, decidió contactar al Departamento de Trabajo para saber la razón por la cual su cheque no le llegaba.

Mary Oppliger, investigadora en la oficina distrital de la división en Minneapolis, se puso a la tarea de averiguar.

La empresa de seguridad Metro Private Police había presentado un documento diciendo que entregaron $13.560 en salarios atrasados a 22 trabajadores por horas extras no pagadas. La compañía reportó que Luis había firmado la prueba de pago pero Luis insistió en que él nunca firmó la forma ni recibió el dinero.

Luis Cruz en su nuevo trabajo Luis at his new security job

Mary y otros colaboradores examinaron su firma, lo que provocó que sospecharan que podría haber sido falsificada en el formulario de la prueba de pago. Mary entonces se reunió con el empleador, quien accedió a pagar a Luis los salarios que le debían. Y esta vez Luis sí recibió el dinero: un total de $2.727.

Aunque es raro que empleadores falsifiquen este tipo de documentos o que la División de Horas y Salarios haga este tipo de investigaciones de seguimiento, estamos comprometidos a garantizar que los trabajadores reciban los salarios que se les adeudan.

“Esos salarios atrasados hicieron una diferencia real para mí y me ayudaron a pagar de mis facturas”, dijo Luis. Como resultado, el padre soltero de tres hijos fue capaz de ponerse al día en los pagos de préstamos estudiantiles y otras obligaciones.

Si tienes preguntas sobre las prácticas de pago de tu empresa, o eres un empleador y quieres asegurarte que estás cumpliendo con la ley, acude a la dirección por Internet de la División de Horas y Salarios o llama al 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1 -866-487-9243). También puedes comprobar si tienes salarios atrasados como el resultado de una investigación utilizando la herramienta en línea Salarios Adeudados a los Trabajadores.

Nota del editor: La serie ‘DOL Working for You’ pone de relieve los programas en acción del Departamento de Trabajo. Ver aquí otros mensajes de la serie.

Corey Walton es especialista en relaciones comunitarias y planificación de recursos de la División de Horas y Salarios en Minneapolis.

Siga el departamento a Twitter @USDOL_Latino y Facebook @USDOLLatino.


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Comments

Do you have any idea how often workers are retailiated against for merely bringing up an issue?

Read "Unregulated Work in Chicago" to get a realistic picture of work life for low-wage workers.

So, you want a biased story. Not all businesses are positive. Not all businesses treat employees right. It is not harmful or divisive for the DOL to suggest contacting them when there is a problem. The employee should have a third party they can contact when there is a question. While talking with a supervisor or employer first can work for some people, not all employers are approachable or easy to talk to.

good question Denise !! Maybe the Dol can comment?

So what happened to the employer: Forgery & Falsifying Documents?

"DOL, why would you not suggest that if an employee has a question about their company’s pay practices that they FIRST talk with their supervisor, or employer? Do you see the divisive and harmful approach you advocate?"

I think you are reading too much into a brief sentence. All it says is:

"If you have questions about your company’s pay practices, or you are an employer who wants to be sure you are complying with the law, learn more on the Wage and Hour Division’s website or by calling 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).

In any case, how would the government advise employees "to talk with their supervisor" if no one called its offices? If you have any experience with the government, that is what they often do first. They try to resolve issues with the employer. The government knows that many complaints begin from misunderstanding. Only when issues are not resolved does the government begin to intervene seriously. It is efficient that way.

If you have experience with the government,

I think the name of the employer may be Metro Private Police and not Metro Private Policy.

I have always question payroll. Practices Sava Healthcare so many complaints nothing ever done even when complaints were filed

"If you have questions about your company’s pay practices.." DOL, why would you not suggest that if an employee has a question about their company's pay practices that they FIRST talk with their supervisor, or employer? Do you see the divisive and harmful approach you advocate? The article seemed rather fair and balanced, including the statement "it's rare for employers to falsify these kinds of documents," but then you ruined all credibility as an actual investigation-outcome story by suggesting that employees with payroll questions talk with the DOL. Just once, just once, I'd like to see an article on here where you write about employers doing the right thing... matter of fact - why don't you start now and for every article going forward, it'll be the positive side of business and organizations - how they create jobs, pay people, and support America.

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