Undercurrent

Painting contractor agrees to pay millions in overtime wages, damages for workers 

By: - January 13, 2023 6:07 pm

Unforgettable Coatings owner Cory Summerhays, with arms folded. (Photo courtesy Arriba Las Vegas)

Unforgettable Coatings, a Las Vegas painting company that also operates in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, agreed Friday to pay $3.68 million to workers it failed to adequately compensate for overtime.  

“It’s an overwhelming moment that brings tears to your eyes,” Isaac Umaña, a former Unforgettable Coatings employee who is currently a member leader at Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center, said in a statement issued by Arriba.  “Cory Summerhays was an abusive employer who always said that he had the best lawyers, but I knew justice was on our side. It’s a major victory.”

“It’s a win for our families, because stealing our wages means stealing from our families,” former Unforgettable Coatings worker Rosario Ortiz said in a statement. “For years, we were not paid our overtime. We faced retaliation for speaking out, and threats related to immigration status.  We had to work days without pay. Today, justice was done. I hope this case sends a clear message to all employers that they cannot avoid the law and take advantage of their workers.”

“Defendants understand and expressly acknowledge that demanding or accepting any of the monies due to any current or former employees under this Consent Judgment and Order to any current or former employees, threatening any employee for accepting monies due under this Consent Judgment and Order, or threatening any employee for exercising any of his or her rights under or related to the FLSA (Federal Labor Standards Act) is specifically prohibited and may subject Defendants to liability beyond this Consent Judgment including civil contempt,” says the agreement

The company is a repeat offender of wage law violations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Instead of coming into compliance, it appears that Defendants then devised a new set of procedures to obscure its continued failure to pay overtime and then commenced a campaign to deter their workers from speaking truthfully to government investigators,” U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson wrote in 2020 when he enjoined the company from cutting pay and from firing workers in alleged retaliation for cooperating with investigators. 

The consent judgment calls for Unforgettable Coatings to pay $1.8 million in unpaid overtime compensation, $1.8 million in liquidated damages, $18,092 in interest, and a $50,000 civil penalty. 

“This settlement shows that, even in the face of extreme retaliation, workers can demand the wages they’re owed for work performed and win,” Bliss Requa-Trautz, executive director of Arriba, said in a statement. “This victory is an important step forward in ending the crisis of workplace abuses immigrant workers face.”

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.

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