|Durham janitorial workers settle wage case|
|Published Monday, July 17, 2017|
DURHAM – In a victory for low-wage workers across the state, a federal court last week approved a settlement agreement providing $77,000 in back wage compensation to 149 janitorial workers in Durham.
Under the agreement, workers employed by Integrity Facilities Management, Inc. to clean Durham Public School buildings will receive payment for alleged unpaid overtime and underpayment of the required wage rate. They will also be compensated for late payment of wages.
Integrity Facilities Management, a subcontractor hired to clean a number of Durham school buildings, declared bankruptcy three years ago and failed to pay employees for their final weeks of work. After workers organized protests, the contractor, SSC Service Solutions, Inc., agreed to pay. That payment, however, did not resolve all of the back wages due to those workers.
“After reviewing the payroll records, we realized that, in addition to not paying workers at all at the end of their employment, Integrity had failed to pay some workers the required wage rate for the work they performed,” said Carol Brooke, staff attorney for the N.C. Justice Center's Workers' Rights Project, who represented the workers. “In addition, overtime wages were not calculated correctly and, in some cases, were not paid at all.”
This victory comes on top of a win for these workers in bankruptcy court last year, when the Justice Center filed claims for the workers and secured a partial payment of the money owed to $16,486.13, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
The Justice Center then filed suit in December against the contractor and Durham Public Schools to recover the rest of the funds owed the workers. The settlement agreement approved provides additional compensation, as well as payment of costs and fees.
“Cleaning the school buildings where children learn is important work,” Brooke said. “We are pleased that these hardworking individuals are finally being paid the wages they earned fair and square.”
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