February 10, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The City of Providence, the Providence School Board and the Harold A. Birch Vocational Center and School have signed a settlement agreement to pay $250,859 in back wages to 60 student workers with disabilities following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. As part of the settlement agreement the department has retroactively revoked the certificate that allowed the school to pay the workers less than the current federal minimum wage for the work performed.
“This settlement is the result of a strategic enforcement initiative to protect workers with disabilities from exploitation,” said David R. Gerrain, acting district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Hartford office. “Workers with disabilities deserve an opportunity to do meaningful work and to receive an income. Although employers may legally pay such workers below the current federal minimum wage, the law clearly states that they may only do so when they assure compliance with certain, key conditions.”