Car Rental Companies Paying $2 Million in SeaTac Back Pay Agreement

The workers involved in the case clean, maintain, and prepare rental cars for customers and also drive shuttles to locations around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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 means workers at those rental companies' SeaTac locations will be receiving nearly $2 million; the agreement is one of L&I's largest in a back pay case 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, which is the 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 workers involved in the case clean, maintain, and prepare rental cars for customers and also drive shuttles to locations around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Hertz and DTG Operations Inc. (Thrifty) representatives signed the agreement Aug. 18 and will pay anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to $30,000 per employee, including interest. The back wages total $1.51 million, with an additional $458,651 in interest. Under the agreement, the state waived any associated penalties and there was no admission of wrongdoing by the companies.

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

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