Hutco agrees to overtime pay settlement

Lafayette-based staffing firm Hutco Inc. will pay $1.9 million in back pay that the U.S. Department of Labor says was improperly withheld from 2,267 employees.

The settlement was announced Monday by the Labor Department.

Hutco officials were not available for comment Monday. The company issued a statement saying it reached a voluntary agreement Feb. 7 to settle the department’s claims. The settlement is “not an admission of any violation,” according to Hutco.

The Labor Department said in a news release that an investigation by its wage and hour division found Hutco denied workers overtime wages through improper pay and record-keeping practices.

Hutco provides workers for a number of businesses, such as shipyards and oilfield fabricators. The company’s workers include welders, electricians, roustabouts, painters, warehouse workers, forklift operators and shipping/receiving clerks.

According to the Labor Department, an investigation of the company’s Lafayette headquarters uncovered “systemic overtime violations” throughout Hutco’s six branches. Hutco’s U.S. locations are in Houma, Harvey, Sulphur; Picayune and Pascagoula, Miss.; and Houston. The company also has an office in Veracruz, Mexico.

“Employers cannot avoid their legal responsibility to pay overtime by using evasive practices that seek to undermine labor laws and deny workers their rightful wages,” acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris said in a news release.

The Labor Department said it referred its findings to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.