BOSS WATCH: 3/22 - 3/29
Updated On: Apr 16, 2024

By JACOB MORRISON | April 1, 2024

Illegal activities of Southern Bosses for the weeks between Friday, March 22 and Friday, April 1


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor has obtained a federal consent judgment that requires a Morristown manufacturer of outdoor power equipment components for major companies including John Deere, Toro and Yamaha to stop employing children illegally and to follow federal child labor laws in the future. 

The judgment, which comes after the department’s Wage and Hour Division identified several children employed in dangerous jobs, includes a $296,951 civil money penalty. The employer must also set aside $1.5 million as disgorgement of 30 days’ profits related to its use of child labor. The proceeds paid by Tuff Torq will be used for the benefit of the children employed illegally. 

Entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greenville on March 22, 2024, the action addressed Tuff Torq Corp.’s illegal employment of children. To date, the department has determined that Tuff Torq subjected 10 children to oppressive child labor.

Division investigators began its probe months ago but obtained clear evidence of the unlawful conduct on Jan. 23, 2024, when they returned to the Tuff Torq facility and observed a child operating a power-driven hoisting apparatus, an occupation prohibited for workers under the age of 18. As a result, the department objected to the shipment of goods from the Morristown facility, citing the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “hot goods” provision, which prevents employers from shipping goods produced by oppressive child labor. 

In addition to an agreement to comply with the child labor provisions of the FLSA, payment of the full civil money penalty, and disgorgement of profits, Tuff Torq has agreed, among other provisions, to do the following:

  • Contract with a community-based organization to provide regular training to staff, managers and contractors.

  • Establish an anonymous tip line for reporting child labor and other suspected FLSA violations.

  • Allow unannounced and warrantless searches of its facility to three years.

  • Refrain from entering any new contracts with staffing agencies or other contractors with child labor violations and will require contractors to disclose child labor violations and hiring protocols.

In fiscal year 2023, the department investigated 955 cases with child labor violations, involving 5,792 children nationwide, including 502 children employed in violation of hazardous occupation standards. The department addressed those violations by assessing employers more than $8 million in civil money penalties.


The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered more than $560,000 after its investigation found an operator of group homes deprived 34 workers in the District of Columbia-area of their full wages and fringe benefits.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined Lamont Homes Inc. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act. The district’s Department of Behavioral Health contracted the company to provide residences for people needing mental and behavioral support. Federal Service Contract Act worker protections, including the payment of prevailing wages and fringe benefits, apply to most service contracts entered into by the District of Columbia.

Division investigators found Lamont Homes violated federal law by failing to do the following:

  • Classify workers properly based on the duties they performed.

  • Pay the prevailing wage rate required by the SCA wage determination.

  • Compensate workers for all hours worked, including weekend hours.

  • Pay fringe benefits, including health and welfare, vacation and holiday pay.

  • Pay proper overtime rates for hours over 40 in a workweek.

  • Maintain records of actual hours worked.

In addition to paying back wages and fringe benefits, Lamont Homes agreed to implement accurate record-keeping of hours worked, pay required wages in the future, not deduct lodging expenses from employees’ pay and receive training on FLSA and SCA compliance.


Iron Hill Brewery of Buckhead, LLC, and Iron Hill Brewery, LLC, a chain of breweries and restaurants, illegally discriminated against an African American employee when it fired him because of his race and in retaliation for reporting discrimination against women and Hispanic employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the lawsuit, an African American sous chef in training complained twice to Iron Hill that management employees were mistreating Hispanic employees and women, including not being provided a safe, private space to express breast milk.

For these actions, he received an unwarranted disciplinary action and was fired. Iron Hill stated that the firing was due to a violation of its “zero tolerance” policy on workplace discrimination, even though the sous chef in training had not engaged in discriminatory behavior. Iron Hill refused to terminate, or even discipline, a white employee who several employees claimed violated Iron Hill’s discrimination policy with respect to Black employees.

Such alleged conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race-based discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Iron Hill Brewery of Buckhead, LLC, and Iron Hill Brewery, LLC, Case No. 1:24-CV-1275-MHC-JKL) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process.


  • U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found the Cowpens plumbing company paid employees a time-and-a-half rate for only the first five hours over 40 in a workweek. After that, the employer reverted to paying employees their regular rate of pay for all hours after 45, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employer also violated the FLSA by deducting $.25 per minute for every minute employees arrived late for work and failed to keep accurate records of the hours worked and driving time for employees. Back wages and liquidated damages recovered: $25,364 in back wages and liquidated damages for 17 workers.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found Future Inc. – a dirt work contractor serving commercial, industrial and residential clients – misclassified 31 construction workers employed to complete major projects in a multi-state area as independent contractors. Future Inc. violated federal law by failing to pay the required time and one-half its employees’ hourly wages for hours worked over 40 per workweek. $49,940 in owed wages and $49,940 in liquidated damages to 31 workers.      

  • 118 employees of two North Louisiana home healthcare providers, Twin City Home Care Services in Monroe and Divine Services LLC in Minden. Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Twin City Home Care Services and Divine Services paid affected employees straight-time rates for all hours worked, including for hours over 40 in a workweek when an overtime rate applies. The division recovered $84,586 in back wages and liquidated damages for 98 employees of Twin City Home Care Services, and $56,067 in back wages and liquidated damages for 20 employees of Divine Services.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Mine Safety and Health Administration completed impact inspections at 13 mines in nine states in February 2024, identifying 207 violations.

  • Ephraim McDowell Health, Inc. (EMH), headquartered in Danville, Kentucky, violated federal law by denying a female employee a promotion because of her sex and retaliated against her after she filed a discrimination charge, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

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