Colorado landscaper pays $550K in back wages, penalties

The company paid $524,063 back in wages to 53 employees and $26,104 in penalties.

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January 11, 2018
Edited by Megan Smalley
Industry News Labor/HR

Parkside Landscaping of Littleton, Colorado, alleged to have not paid promise wages to some employees, the Denver Post reported. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division told the Denver Post that Parkside paid about $550,000 back in wages and penalties to settle allegations it underpaid foreign workers it hired to fill seasonal jobs.

The company paid $524,063 in back wages to 53 employees and $26,104 in penalties to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and H-2B nonagricultural visa program provisions. Gene Baker, the company’s owner, told the Denver Post the government had raised wages required for landscape workers after he had signed contracts with the H-2B workers, putting him in a bind.

Under the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program, companies must certify they tried to find local workers and failed to do so at a prevailing wage before they can bring in temporary help from other countries. Prevailing wages are required, in part, to prevent employers from undercutting the local labor market by bringing in foreign workers willing to accept less pay. But in 2015, prevailing wages for landscape workers rose by more than a third, the Denver Post reported.

Labor investigators found that Parkside didn’t pay foreign workers the wage stated in its certification. According to the Denver Post, an additional eight employees were paid straight wages for overtime hours worked, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Read the full story from the Denver Post here.