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US recovers $547,000 from firm that cheated its own workers

©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier
The Department of Labour has helped 139 employees of a Guam-based contractor to recover $547,378 in back wages and liquidated damages.

Ian Construction owed the workers $295,420 in back wages and $251,957 in damages. An additional $50,000 was charged in penalties for “repeated and wilful violations” of labour regulations.

Ian Construction and owner Jihyung Chong were found to have contravened federal labour, overtime and wage laws by failing to pay employees for hours worked.

The company has previously been fined $10,849, which was awarded to 44 workers following investigations in 2012, 2016 and 2021 for not paying overtime, health and welfare benefits or driving time, as well as illegal deductions.

Terence Trotter, a district director of the department, said: “Just like there are baseline building standards for the construction of homes and community infrastructure, there are also baseline wage standards for the workers who build them. These must be adhered to at all times.

“Counting and paying for all hours worked, including mandated breaks of short duration, isn’t just a good idea – it’s the law.”

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