News | Communication Services, 360-902-5400 - PublicAffairs@Lni.wa.gov

L&I reaches agreements with Hertz, Thrifty providing SeaTac workers nearly $2 million in back pay

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September 6, 2017 #17-032

Tumwater – An agreement between the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), Hertz and Thrifty over back pay owed under SeaTac's minimum wage law will mean checks for thousands of dollars for numerous workers at the car rental companies' SeaTac locations.

In total, the nearly $2 million agreement is one of L&I's largest over back pay in recent history.

A total of 157 workers filed L&I claims for wages owed between Jan. 1, 2014, when the $15 minimum wage took effect, and Sept. 30, 2015. The latter date is when the state Supreme Court ruled the ordinance covered companies at the airport.

"People have a right to get paid what they've worked hard for; when they don't, L&I can help," said L&I Director Joel Sacks. "Now that this agreement is in place, we're moving ahead to get this money into the hands of the people who worked hard for it. The funds will make a real difference for these workers and their families."

The Hertz and Thrifty workers clean, maintain, and prepare rental cars for customers. They also drive shuttles to locations around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Hertz and DTG Operations Inc. (Thrifty) formally signed the agreement Aug. 18. The companies will pay anywhere from a couple thousand dollars up to $30,000 per employee, including interest. The back wages alone total $1.51 million, with another $458,651 in interest. Under the agreement, the state waived any associated penalties and there was no admission of wrongdoing by the companies.

The companies will send L&I checks for individuals, who must sign a form freeing the employers from any further claims. If a worker can't be contacted, L&I will hold the checks for a year before sending them to the Department of Revenue as unclaimed.

The agreement covers additional claims for back wages other workers at Hertz and Thrifty may file through L&I. It also ends any other outstanding legal proceedings on this issue that involve L&I.

Sacks credited the work of L&I industrial relations agents for their work on reaching a settlement. "The agents met with employers and workers to investigate the claims fairly and reach a resolution," he said.

Last year, L&I received 5,440 wage complaints and returned $2.8 million to workers in enforcement of the state's wage-and-hour laws.

Labor & Industries investigates all wage-payment complaints it receives, as required by state law. Workers can file a wage complaint online or by calling 1-866-219-7321.

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For media information: Matthew Erlich, Public Affairs, 360-902-6508, Matthew.Erlich@Lni.wa.gov.

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

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