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August 12, 2003
Government Contractor to Pay $119,000 in Back Wages
A Houston security guard company has agreed to pay $119,000 in back overtime wages after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor found that 67 current and former employees were underpaid.

The investigation determined that Superior Protection Inc. failed to properly pay overtime to its employees working on federal service contracts from March 6, 2001, to March 5, 2003, as required by the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA), according to the department. The company also failed to pay proper health and welfare benefits under the Service Contract Act (SCA).

The company was not combining hours worked by employees on two or more federal service contracts for overtime purposes, according to investigators. Under the CWHSSA, security guards working on federal contracts must receive time and one-half their regular rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

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Investigators said the company also failed to pay the required health and welfare benefits for hours spent in mandatory training for the contract. Under the SCA, employers are required to pay a minimum hourly wage plus an additional amount in health and welfare benefits which are stipulated in the contract with the federal government. Generally, the employer is required to pay the health and welfare benefits for the first 40 hours worked by the employees in a workweek.

The company and Wage and Hour discussed ways in which to correct pay practices that may have resulted in the violations, and the company has agreed to future compliance. The company will pay the back wages in full by Oct. 1, 2003.

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