BOSS WATCH: 2/16 - 2/23
Updated On: Apr 08, 2024

By JACOB MORRISON February 26, 2024

Illegal activities of Southern Bosses for the weeks between Friday, February 16 and Friday, February 23


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has recovered nearly $900,000 in back wages and damages after its investigation found a Norfolk home care employer denied 108 workers their hard-earned overtime pay.

The division’s investigation found that Advantage Home Care LLC and co-owners Dondra Nichols and Phillip Simons failed to pay required overtime rates for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek and did not maintain accurate records of hours worked. The employers paid $438,277 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for these violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.


A federal investigation into an August 2023 horrific fatal incident at a Phenix City sawmill revealed, for the second time in three years, that the employer could have prevented a tragedy by following required safety rules. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, responding to reports by first responders, found that a 67-year-old sawmill supervisor at MDLG Inc., operating as Phenix Lumber Co., had climbed on top of an auger to access a difficult-to-reach area to unclog a woodchipper. Because of multiple failures by the employer to protect him, the machine started while the employee was on top of the auger. The 20-year employee was caught in the machinery and fatally injured.

In response to the August 2023 fatal incident, OSHA cited Phenix Lumber Co., as well as its owners John Menza Dudley Jr. and Leslie Elizabeth Dudley, with 22 willful violations, one repeat violation and five serious violations, totaling $2,471,683 in proposed penalties. Specifically, the agency found the employer failed to:

  • Ensure employees used energy control procedures to prevent the unexpected start-up of machines while performing maintenance and servicing activities such as clearing jams. 

  • Ensure the use of lockout/tagout devices on machinery when performing maintenance.

  • Provide training to employees on the purpose and function of the energy control program, as well as ensure they have the knowledge and skills required for the safe application of energy control measures. 

  • Maintain guarding on machines that posed amputation hazards to employees. 

  • Require fall protection to be used in work areas above four feet. 

Prior to these citations, Phenix Lumber Co. had been inspected four times in the past five years, including a fatality inspection in 2020 that resulted in the agency citing the company with four willful and 10 serious violations.

OSHA added the employer to the agency’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program in 2020, a program for employers who endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations that could lead to fatalities or catastrophic injuries. Employers remain on the list until they can demonstrate certain criteria and safety standards within a three-year timeframe.


The U.S. Department of Labor’s recovery of more than $1 million in minimum and overtime wages owed to 859 home healthcare workers employed by two Texas companies show that improper pay practices in the industry remain a systemic problem in Texas and across the nation.

Investigations by the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Alegre Home Health Care LLC in Mission and Pas Home Care LLC in Weslaco shortchanged employees by violating numerous federal regulations that govern how workers must legally be paid.

Specifically, division investigators found both employers failed to combine all hours worked for the purpose of calculating employees’ overtime wages. The employers paid the affected employees straight-time rates for all hours worked, including for hours over 40 in a workweek when an overtime rate applies. In addition, the division found Alegre Home Health Care and Pas Home Care adjusted employees’ established wage rates during weeks when they worked overtime to avoid paying the required overtime rates. 

The findings are the result of investigations by the division’s McAllen District Office, which reviewed Alegre Home Health Care’s employment practices and identified violations at the employer’s Austin, Corpus Christi, Eagle Pass, El Paso, Mission, Presidio and San Antonio locations. A separate investigation of Pas Home Care was done at its Weslaco location. 

In all, the division’s investigations led to a combined recovery of $1,041,406 in minimum wage and overtime back wages for the affected employees, which included $900,786 for 716 employees of Alegre Home Health Care LLC and $140,620 for 143 employees of Pas Home Care LLC.


The U.S. Department of Labor today asked a federal court to issue a nationwide temporary restraining order and injunction against Fayette Janitorial Service LLC – operating as Fayette Industrial – to stop the Tennessee-based company from illegally employing children while the department continues its investigations of the company’s labor practices.

Filed by the department’s Office of the Solicitor in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, the request for a restraining order is prompted by investigations by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. Investigators discovered Fayette employed children to clean and sanitize spaces and equipment during overnight shifts to fulfill sanitation contracts at a Perdue Farms plant in Accomac, Virginia and at Seaboard Triumph Foods LLC in Sioux City.

The Fair Labor Standards Act bans children under the age of 18 from working in dangerous occupations, including most jobs in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, rendering and packing establishments.

In its filing, the department alleges Fayette employed 15 children, hired as young as 13 years old, in Virginia and at least nine children in Iowa on its overnight sanitation shifts. Minors were used to clean dangerous kill floor equipment such as head splitters, jaw pullers, meat bandsaws, and neck clippers. At least one 14-year-old at the Virginia facility suffered severe injuries while employed by Fayette.

“The employment of children in hazardous occupations is an egregious violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act that should never occur,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “The Department of Labor continues to use every available legal resource to protect workers and end child labor violations. We are working diligently with other federal agencies to combat child labor exploitation nationwide.”

“Federal laws were established decades ago to prevent employers from profiting from the employment of children in dangerous jobs, yet we continue to find employers exploiting children.” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looman. “As we’ve unfortunately seen in this case, employers’ violations of federal child labor laws have real consequences on children’s lives. Our actions to stop these violations will help ensure that more children are not hurt in the future.” 

Fayette Janitorial Service LLC of Somerville, Tennessee, provides contract sanitation and cleaning services for meat and poultry processing facilities, including Perdue Farms and Seaboard Triumph Foods, in about 30 states and employs more than 600 workers. The Department of Labor’s investigations into Fayette are ongoing. 

In February 2023, the department announced the creation of an Interagency Task Force to Combat Child Labor Exploitation to better align federal efforts to protect children from exploitative situations in the workplace.

In fiscal year 2023, department investigators identified child labor violations in 955 cases and assessed employers with more than $8 million in penalties.


  • Federal safety investigators learned that a 41-year-old maintenance technician at Aludyne Columbus Foundry in Columbus, GA endured severe injuries from an electrical transformer explosion and opened a second investigation. The company was cited for 22 serious and 3 other-than-serious violations including failure to mandate electrical suits and insulated tools for a total of $182,000

  • The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $97,635 in back wages and damages for 26 workers who weren’t paid overtime by Matryoshka Deli in North Miami Beach, FL

  • The US DOL’s Wage & Hour Division recovered $37,155 in back wages for 37 workers who weren’t paid overtime by EAS Homes in Charleston, SC

  • The US DOL’s Wage & Hour Division recovered $52,000 in tips, back wages, and damages to more than 13 workers who had these wages stolen from them by Mura Ichiban Restaurant and Nam Dae Moon Restaurant in Saipan, Mariannas Islands

  • The US DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited an LMI Finishing in Oklahoma City, OK $284,963 for exposing workers to nearly two dozen safety hazards following a complaint about a lax safety environment at the company’s plant in Catoosa.

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