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Madison - Forty-eight former employees of Westra Construction, Inc., Waupun, Wisconsin, will share a payment of $87,145.95 in wages owed to them when the business closed without providing notice as required by Wisconsin law. The out-of-court settlement was announced today by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman.


"It is clear in Wisconsin law that wages earned must be paid, and that notice must be given when a plant closes," Van Hollen said. "DWD administers disputes over these requirements, and when necessary DOJ provides legal representation to enforce DWD's findings. This cooperation has resulted in workers receiving wages they were owed, but might otherwise have not received."


"I am very pleased that we have prevailed on behalf of these workers," Secretary Gassman said. "When a business closes, the whole community suffers. The good news is that the workers will be paid and workers' rights are being strongly enforced."


DWD had found that the Waupun plant violated the State's wages payable law, Wis. Stats. Ð’ 109.03 and business closing notification law, Wis. Stats. Ð’ 109.07, when it ceased operating in April of 2005, and referred the case to DOJ for prosecution.


Under the settlement, those employees who opt to participate will receive checks in varying amounts totaling $87,145.95, which represents the unpaid wages of qualifying employees, as well as a compromise amount of the penalties assessed under the business closing notification law.


DWD will send out notices to qualifying employees regarding the amount they would receive should they chose to participate in the settlement. This settlement was made possible by the positive cooperation of Home Town Bank, Westra's chief creditor, which arranged for the settlement funds.


The claim and settlement was processed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of Workforce Development. Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Lattis handled the case.