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Investigation in Puerto Rico recovers $106K in overtime wages for 136 security guards misclassified as independent contractors

GUAYNABO, PR – A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation has found a Puerto Rico-based security services company misclassified 136 of its employees as independent contractors, denying them overtime pay required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Division investigators determined that Advance Investigation Group Inc. of Bayamon misclassified security guards as “professional services” workers or independent contractors, paying them straight-time wages instead of overtime wages when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The employer also failed to maintain complete payroll records for former employees.

The investigation led the division to recover $106,279 in back wages for the workers.

“Employers in the U.S. and its territories cannot enter into wage agreements with workers that violate the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements, such as misclassifying employees as independent contractors,” said Wage and Hour Division Caribbean District Director José R. Vázquez-Fernández in Guaynabo. “Employees must be paid all of the wages they have legally earned. Employers cannot evade their responsibilities under the FLSA to gain an unlawful economic advantage over employers that pay their workers in compliance with the law.”

The Wage and Hour Division provides multiple tools to help employers understand their responsibilities, and offer confidential compliance assistance to anyone with questions about how to comply with the law. Workers can call the division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

Read the release in Español.

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