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SHAWANO - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman announced today the settlement of a Department of Workforce Development claim in Shawano County. The total amount recovered on behalf of employees of three Shawano businesses is approximately $477,500.
"It is clear in Wisconsin that laws protecting the rights of workers to compensation must be followed," Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice represents the Department of Workforce Development in enforcing the law when violations unfortunately occur. I am pleased the workers in this case will be justly compensated."
"In each of the last three years, DWD succeeded in collecting well over $2 million on behalf of thousands of workers and their families," Secretary Gassman said. "Last year alone, DWD's Division of Equal Rights collected more than $2.8 million. This settlement is another example of our strong, effective enforcement of state laws protecting workers, a collaborative effort with the Department of Justice."
Owens Flooring Company, LLC and two related companies in Shawano, with a combined workforce of 163, filed receivership proceedings in Shawano County Circuit Court on December 4, 2009 after closing abruptly on December 3. As the legal representation for the DWD, the Department of Justice filed a wage lien and a claim in the receivership in order to recover the three weeks wages that employees were due to receive before closure.
Under the State's Wage Payments, Claims and Collections laws, eligible workers are entitled to payment of up to $3,000 in unpaid wages before most other creditors may be paid. In this case, the DWD's efforts on behalf of employees will have resulted in wage payments totaling approximately $477,500, about $75,000 more than the $3,000 priming limit of a normal wage lien.
The announcement was made after Shawano County Circuit Judge James R. Habeck granted approval of the agreement between the state and Attorney Michael S. Polsky, the court appointed receiver.