On Wednesday, the Department of Labor announced that MetalTek has agreed to pay more than $335,000 ($335,680) in back pay to 68 employees. It turns out that the company wasn't paying workers at its facilities in Chattanooga, TN for the time they spent taking mandated safety precautions before and after work.
According to the DOL, they employees worked around high levels of lead. As part of company policy, the workers had to wear protective equipment before entering work areas, and then remove and store it after their shift. Employees also had to shower before leaving work. When the company decided not to pay the workers for their efforts, it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation that took nearly three-years, which is particularly significant because in June 2016, MetalTek shut down the Chattanooga plant. The manufacturer cited an economic downturn in the oil drilling and mining industries for the closure.
During the investigation, the agency also found that the company violated FLSA recordkeeping provisions, like keeping inaccurate time and payroll records – which seems obvious given the issue that caused the violation. The company agreed to pay the back wages and damages, and will comply with the FLSA at its other facilities in the future.
MetalTek International is a leading supplier of alloy components. The company manufacturers fabricated assemblies, finish machined components, as well as static, continuous, and investment castings.
IEN reached out to MetalTek, but the company to not respond to our request for comment.
This is IEN Now with David Mantey.