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Government & Politics

Wage-theft investigation costs Maryland another $9.5 million

The Maryland State House. Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

Maryland is on the hook for nearly $9.5 million as part of a settlement to resolve wage theft allegations within the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

The settlement is the second in a year totaling more than $20 million related to a federal investigation of time-keeping practices within the agency. The Board of Public Works is scheduled to take up the settlement at its meeting on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for AFSCME Council 3 declined to comment. The union represents affected employees within the department.

The settlement coming to the board is expected to cover a many as 9,000 current and retired workers of the department who were shorted pay as part of a scheme that rounded off starting and ending times when employees clocked in for work. Active employees make up the bulk of those affected by the settlement. Some of those received payment from a payout last summer.

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services declined to comment until after the Wednesday board vote.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Labor said the case involving the state remains open and declined to comment.

In July, the three-member Board of Public Works approved a $13 million payment to resolve some allegations of wage theft dating back to the administration of former Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

That settlement is an extension of an initial investigation of the agency U.S. Department of Labor covering 2018-2020 involving workers at the Jessup Correctional Institute.

Union officials at the time called the July payout “the second largest wage theft settlement for correctional officers in United States history.”

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

Union leaders said at the time that other wage theft claims remained under investigation.

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 agency determined that the state engaged in wage theft.

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

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

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

This story may be updated.


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Wage-theft investigation costs Maryland another $9.5 million