Unpaid workers in Oklahoma collectively are receiving nearly $1 million in back wages and penalties from the state’s labor department.
The Oklahoma Department of Labor’s (ODOL) Wage and Hour Division said it has awarded Oklahoma employees $839,909.02 in unpaid wages and benefits, plus an additional $88,400.51 in liquidated damages, for a total of $928,309.52, in fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019).
The amount is almost twice as much awarded by the DOL in the previous fiscal year, which was around $500,000.
The increase is due in large part to claims brought against struggling healthcare providers and municipal hospitals.
A majority of the wages were for employees’ final paychecks and were awarded to employees who might not otherwise receive payment as their claims were too small to attract the attention of most attorneys. While most wage claims are only a few hundred to a thousand dollars apiece, they are often the difference between a family making its mortgage payment, or paying their bills on time, or putting food on the table.
In addition to the awarded wages, the ODOL’s Wage and Hour Division answered thousands of telephone calls from concerned employees, and assisted hundreds of Oklahoma employers comply with Oklahoma’s Protection of Labor Act and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Source: Oklahoma DOL
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