GOODWILL REACHES AGREEMENT WITH DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
In 2016, Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division, regarding a complaint related to their federal custodial contract sites.
Goodwill cooperated with the investigation and conducted an internal audit. It was discovered that discrepancies in wages arose out of payroll and time keeping errors that were swiftly identified and corrected. The associates, past and present, were paid in full any money owed to them in February 2018. Goodwill has since corrected any internal policies and procedures so that this will not occur again.
Goodwill Southeast Georgia settled all payments in February 2018. The amount paid to each associate averaged less than $9 per pay check over a 3 year period, totaling $114,936.45.
“Honest mistakes in our timekeeping and human resource field practices were made in the administration of our federal services contracts” stated Cynthia Barnes, Vice President of Community Engagement. “When the errors were identified we took action to change our procedures and swiftly paid disputed earnings. Additionally, we have had significant changes in leadership that we feel confident are capable of ensuring compliance to all policies and procedures moving forward.”
Goodwill’s internal audit identified several errors in their field practices which were immediately corrected. Firstly, some associates were missing punches from their timecards. It was found that supervisors were correcting timecards with the best intentions but without the necessary supporting documentation. This practice was changed and all timecard adjustments now require written confirmation from the associate.
The second error arose from vacation time being mistakenly processed as “use it or lose it” (a policy used in Goodwill Southeast Georgia’s main operations) to the contracts in question rather than paying out unused time at the end of the year. The policy was rectified and missed earnings back-paid to all associates affected.
Thirdly, some contracted associates had not been paid the correct prevailing wage. Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire had been waiting on government guidance on changing wage rates upon renewal of their contract. At no time were any employees paid less than the federal or state minimum wage. Goodwill acted quickly to pay any disputed earnings.
Goodwill outsourced the calculation of the total amount owed to associates to a third part financial analyst through Robert, Half and Associates to ensure complete accuracy and transparency in their findings. All errors outlined were due to either misunderstandings, poor process management or a lack of clarity regarding changes in a government contract. Final payments were resolved as February 2018 and related policies have been adjusted.
For more information about Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire and their operations please contact:
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