ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL FILES CONSENT DECREE WITH ROOFING COMPANY IN LAWSUIT ALLEGING OVERTIME WAGE THEFT
Raoul's Consent Decree is First Under the Attorney General's New Authority to Protect Illinois Workers
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced a consent decree with a Chicago roofing company resolving allegations the company unlawfully withheld overtime wages from its workers, some of whom often worked over 60 hours a week. The lawsuit and consent decree are the first the Attorney General's office is filing using its authority under a worker protection law Attorney General Raoul initiated in 2019.
The consent decree, filed in the Cook County Circuit Court, resolves a lawsuit Raoul's office also filed today against Star Roofing and Siding Inc. (Star Roofing). The consent decree requires the company to take action to ensure that its employees will be paid in accordance with state law, which entitles workers to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Additionally, the consent decree requires the company to pay a total of $101,000 in owed overtime pay to nine workers.
"Employers that skirt wage and hour laws not only hurt workers who rely on their paychecks to support their families, but also gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding employers," Raoul said. "Our laws are designed to ensure that Illinois workers get paid fairly for the work they perform, and I will continue to use my office's authority to investigate and pursue claims against employers who refuse to follow the law."
"This is a good day for the workers. Far too many times employees at Star Roofing have not been paid for all time worked. It is bad enough that these employees are not paid the area standard that is enjoyed by union roofers," Gary Menzel, President of Roofers and Waterproofers Local 11 said. "I applaud the workers who stood up for their rights and I applaud the Attorney General's office for prosecuting bad employers. In these tumultuous times it is good to see that justice can still prevail."
Raoul's lawsuit alleges that for years, Star Roofing failed to pay nine of its roofing employees overtime wages for all time worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Star Roofing's alleged failure to pay these roofers at time and a half their regular rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours per week violated the provisions of the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, which designates the overtime rate of pay.
Under the consent decree, Star Roofing must maintain and provide pay records for workers to ensure that workers know their rate of pay and the amount of hours worked each week. The consent decree also requires Star Roofing to keep GPS records for all its vehicles and detailed records about the crew members traveling in each vehicle to deter workers from being paid off-the-books. Beyond obtaining the wages the workers are entitled to under the law, Raoul's consent decree also ensures that workers will continue to be paid in accordance with the law and allows the Attorney General's office to seek attorney's fees and costs if it becomes necessary to enforce the provisions of the consent decree.
Today's lawsuit and consent decree are the first filed under the authority that Attorney General Raoul secured in his 2019 legislation intended to protect workers from unlawful employment practices and to level the playing field for law-abiding businesses. Public Act 101-0527 was signed into law after being passed by the General Assembly with bipartisan support and formally established the Worker Protection Unit within the Attorney General's office. The law also provides clear legal authority for the Attorney General to investigate and bring enforcement actions against employers that commit wage theft and other workplace rights violations, such as violations of the Minimum Wage Law, the Wage Payment and Collection Act, and the Employee Classification Act.
The consent decree filed today builds on Attorney General Raoul's work to advocate for workers and enforce the laws designed to protect them. In April, Raoul filed a lawsuit and entered into a consent decree against three companies and a staffing agency to prevent sex discrimination in hiring practices. Raoul previously sued Voyant, a beauty packaging company in Cook County, and installed a monitor following workers' complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation. Raoul also initiated a lawsuit against Colony Inc. and its temporary staffing agencies alleging they unlawfully conspired to fix workers' wages and restrict their right to find better employment opportunities. Attorney General Raoul also leads the Worker Protection Unit Task Force, which is composed of state agencies and law enforcement officials from around the state. The task force issued its first report in November 2020.
Attorney General Raoul encourages workers who have experienced unfair workplace practices to contact his office's Workplace Rights Hotline at 1-844-740-5076.
Bureau Chief Alvar Ayala handled the case for Raoul's Workplace Rights Bureau.