SAN JOSE — After years of waiting, a group of sprinkler technicians finally received a $1.3 million payout from their employer, Cintas Fire Protection Services, as compensation for unpaid overtime and other wages. The resolution comes after the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division expressly warned Cintas that its billing and payroll procedures violated federal wage laws but the defendant did nothing to amend its tactics until the DOL took up the claim on behalf of the workers.
According to the Department of Labor, Cintas refused to pay its sprinkler technicians for the time spent completing reports, sending emails and submitting timesheets during a period from 2011 to 2015. Cintas reportedly refused to pay workers because the company could not in turn bill its clients for the work, yet another example of companies trying to pad bottom lines by stealing wages from hard working employees.
Susana Blanco, director of the Wage and Hour Division office in San Francisco, released a statement saying “Cintas shortchanged employees for some hours they worked that could not be billed to clients, despite us explaining the law to them directly in the past. The results of this investigation should send a strong message about how seriously the Wage and Hour Division takes compliance. Not only will dozens of workers now receive their long overdue wages, but Cintas has also agreed to a series of measures to prevent these types of violations in the future.”
In addition to finally paying its 81 employees harmed by the wage theft, Cintas agreed to a $44,500 civil penalty and to implement several oversight procedures to prevent future incidents. Those oversight moves include organizing a nationwide compliance team, establishing a hotline for workers to voice their complaints, reserving the right to terminate managers who allow off-the-clock work to occur, and agreeing to conduct rigorous field audits.
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