This Lacey contractor underpaid workers, investigators say

A Lacey-based home contractor failed to pay employees for overtime hours worked, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Norpac Financial LLC, which operates as Northern Pacific Exteriors, paid 39 employee’s regular rates for time they worked over 40 hours per week, according to a Labor Department news release. Such practices violate the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Department of Labor uncovered the violations during an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division. The release also alleges the contractor failed to share complete and accurate records with investigators.

As a result of the investigation, employees collectively received $69,963 in overtime back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Due to the “reckless nature” of the violations, the release says, the contractor has been penalized with a $7,050 fine.

The company provides roofing, siding, window- and gutter-related products and services to homeowners, according to its website. It has an offices in Lacey and Auburn.

In the news release, Division Director Thomas Silva reminded employers and employees that workers are legally entitled to be paid for overtime work.

“The U.S. Department of Labor found that Northern Pacific Exteriors shortchanged dozens of workers of wages on which they depend to care for themselves and their families,” Silva said. “We urge all employers to use the many tools we offer to help them understand the law and avoid costly penalties and damages.”

In a statement to The Olympian, Northern Pacific Exteriors General Manager Michelle Kilpatrick said the company takes its obligation to properly compensate employees seriously.

“We have worked hard to balance employee pay requests with our legal obligations and continue to ensure compliance with the law,” Kilpatrick said.

The company reached a “mutually agreeable resolution” with employees to avoid “unnecessarily lengthy, expensive litigation,” Kilpatrick said. This was in the best interest of all involved, she added.

Though a resolution has been reached, Kilpatrick took issue with the way the Department of Labor presented the situation in its news release.

“We disagree with the Department’s incorrect assumptions and findings and disagree with the hyperbolic language used in its promotional and sensationalized press release,” Kilpatrick said. “Northern Pacific was absolutely not reckless in any way.”

The Wage and Hour division runs an initiative that seeks to uncover wage violations in the construction industry. Through this initiative, the release says the division has recovered more than $119 million in unpaid wages over the course of 9,147 investigations since 2019.

In Washington, affected employees have not claimed over $1.9 million in back wages recovered by the division, the release says. This may be due to employers failing to keep accurate records of employee addresses or former workers relocating without leaving new contact information.

Workers can contact the division through a toll-free helpline at 866-487-9243. The release notes workers can remain anonymous and choose to speak in over 200 languages.

Those who suspect they may be owed back wages can use an online search tool to see what the division has collected.