A Texas-based transportation company has been ordered by the federal government to help pay nearly $1.4 million in back wages and benefits it owes some Chicago-area employees.
Total Enterprise Inc. of Irving, Texas, was found to have been underpaying 140 employees who worked out of its Franklin Park, Illinois, facility for a three-year period that ended in 2009.
Total Enterprise had been hired to shuttle Transportation Security Administration employees between O’Hare International Airport and remote parking lots.
A Total Enterprise representative was not available for comment.
The settlement, to be paid by the TSA and Total Enterprise, represents “wages that [employees] should have been receiving all along,” a Labor Department spokesman said.
It’s not clear what portion of the award Total Enterprise will pay.
The 140 workers—shuttle bus drivers, parking lot attendants and bus dispatchers — will see payouts ranging from $30,000 to $90,000 for money owed to them from Dec. 31, 2005, through Nov. 7, 2009, the spokesman said.
The TSA said in a written statement that it has been “working closely” with the Labor Department to ensure that Total Enterprise employees are paid accordingly. “TSA appreciates the cooperation and assistance of the [Labor Department] in this enforcement action,” the agency said in the statement.
The nearly $1.4-million settlement requires final approval by an administrative law judge.
Wage violations, particularly among low-wage earners, are not uncommon in Cook County, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study. In the past decade, lawsuits filed in Chicago’s federal court that allege some violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act have jumped 134 percent.