US Department of Labor Seeking Current, Former Workers Owed Share of $2.6M In Back Wages

The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking current and former employees of a Tempe construction contractor who may be owed a share of more than $2.6 million in overtime wages and damages recovered after a federal court approved a consent judgment in response to litigation and a long-standing investigation by the department.

On Nov. 17, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona entered a consent judgment to resolve a complaint filed by the department against Valley Wide Plastering Construction Inc. and owners Jesse Guerrero, Rose Guerrero and J.R. Guerrero. In its action, the department alleged egregious violations of federal overtime, recordkeeping and anti-retaliation provisions. The employers have accepted the judgment and agreed to pay $1,312,360 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to affected employees.

“Our immediate priority is ensuring that workers denied overtime pay receive the wages and damages they are owed,” said Jessica Looman, Principal Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. “The Wage and Hour Division and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor worked tirelessly to hold Valley Wide Plastering and the Guerreros accountable. Our work, however, is not complete until workers receive their wages.”

Current and former workers who believe they were denied overtime wages should contact the department’s Wage and Hour Division in Phoenix immediately. The judgment specifies that Valley Wide Plastering may be subject to additional court actions and penalties if they fail to pay the amounts due, or demand or accept any of the funds from employees.

In May 2022, the court granted the department’s motion for civil contempt sanctions against Valley Wide Plastering, its owners and its vice president for violating a preliminary injunction and continuing to falsify time records, failing to maintain a reliable timekeeping system and listing false regular rates of pay on payroll records.

“The U.S. Department of Labor will hold accountable employers that continue to break the law – even during litigation – despite knowing what they are doing is illegal,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “We will use every tool available to us, including injunctions and contempt actions, to enforce the law and stop wage theft.”

Current and former Valley Wide Plastering employees should call the division directly at 602-407-5323 to find out if they are owed back wages recovered as part of this judgment. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

Visit the agency’s website to learn more about the Wage and Hour Division.