Marengo County Detention Center pays back 104k in owed wages

Published 11:50 am Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Marengo County Detention Center in Linden has paid 29 current and former employees $103,987 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

The division found violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime provisions.

A representative in the Marengo County Commission Office confirmed the wages owed were paid in June of this year.

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“The end result is that after the investigation, the labor department ruled in favor of the employees and they were paid back,” Marengo County Sheriff Richard Bates said.

According to Michael D’Aquino of the U.S. Department of Labor, the investigation covers a span of two years from Jan. 26, 2010 to Jan. 24, 2012.

The department’s investigation determined that one employee was unlawfully terminated while on approved medical leave, subject to FMLA protections.

The employer claimed that the employee had failed to submit required documentation but never provided the employee written notification of an obligation to do so as required by the FMLA, the Labor Department said. The employer paid the employee $11,726 in lost wages.

The investigation further determined that the employer failed to pay proper overtime to 28 correctional officers and deputies.

FLSA contains an exemption that allows law enforcement agencies to establish a work period of up to 28 days, rather than the usual seven-day workweek. Under that exemption, a 14-day work period requires overtime pay for hours worked beyond 86.

In this case, employees worked 96 hours per 14-day work period but were not paid overtime, the Labor Department ruled. The employer has paid the affected employees a total $92,261 in back wages.