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June 01, 2005
Security Guard Firm Ordered to Pay $2.2 Million

The chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico has ordered Action Force Security to pay $2.2 million in back wages and damages to more than 600 employees.

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Chief U.S. District Judge Jose Antonio Fuste ordered the firm, which is based in based in Rio Piedras, and the company's president and owner to pay $1,124,736.60 in overtime back wages plus an equal amount in damages, and to pay the Labor Department $85,660 in civil money penalties.

Last year, the department filed suit against the defendants alleging violations of the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The department says the violations took place between January 30, 2001 and February 28, 2005.

Investigators from the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division said that Action Force Security routinely required its security guards to work overtime without paying them time and one-half for the hours worked over 40 in a week. Rather, the workers were paid straight time for all hours worked, according to the department.

The Puerto Rico District Office of the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division conducted the investigation. In fiscal year 2004, that office recovered more than $1,000,000 in additional back wages as part of its ongoing security guard initiative.

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