Hawkins Tree and Landscaping in Shakopee, Minnesota has been ordered to pay back wages and liquidated damages in the amount of $478,000 to 57 current and former laborers, drivers, crew leaders and foremen of the company for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Hawkins Tree and Landscaping and its owners have also agreed to pay $22,000 in civil money penalties.
The company misclassified workers as independent contractors and failed to pay overtime. The news release states this misclassification is an alarming trend, "particularly in industries that often employ low-wage, vulnerable workers and in which the Wage and Hour Division historically has found significant wage violations."
"This is a cautionary tale," says TCIA's Bob Rouse, Vice President of Industry Standards & Credentialing. "When a company gets caught, the stakes can be pretty high."