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Government & Politics

State poised to settle corrections department wage theft case for $13 million

A flag waves on Maryland Avenue in Annapolis, near the State House. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

State employees in one agency will split more than $13 million to settle allegations of wage theft dating back to the administration of Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

The settlement is part of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor into at least two agencies including the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The Board of Public Works is scheduled to vote on a more than $13 million settlement between the state corrections department and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Documents sent to the three-member Board of Public Works explains that the settlement will “resolve all claims in the matter of the United States Department of Labor Investigation of Time-Keeping Practices in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.”

The pending settlement is an extension of an initial investigation of the agency covering 2018-2020.

The department suffers from a high vacancy rate. Hogan and the union had a contentious relationship during the Republican executive’s eight years in office.

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services declined to comment pending a decision by the Board of Public Works.

The vote by the panel, including Gov. Wes Moore (D), Comptroller Brooke Lierman (D) and Treasurer Dereck Davis, is scheduled for July 5.

In the recent past, Davis has raised concerns about settlements paid out by agencies including the Maryland State Police and Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Davis was not immediately available for comment.

In February 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor found the same agency violated the Fair Labor Standards Act for underpaying employees of the Jessup Correctional Institute.

Employees there claimed that the department failed to pay them for time worked over their shifts.

The Department of Labor ordered the state to pay out more than $468,000 to settle the complaints.

That case expanded to include the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and a related complaint against the state corrections agency. In that complaint, the Department of Labor was asked to look at rounding rounding errors for both start and end times.

The agency determined that the state engaged in wage theft.

Lenore Uddyback-Fortson, a U.S. Department of Labor’s Philadelphia regional office spokesperson, declined to comment on the pending settlement because “the case is still open.”

This story was updated to with information about Gov. Wes Moore presiding over the Board of Public Works on July 5. 


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State poised to settle corrections department wage theft case for $13 million