A company that performed electrical work on a wastewater treatment plant in Detroit Lakes is being forced to pay backwages.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has recovered more than $334,000 in back wages for construction workers who were not paid the correct prevailing wage or overtime wages.

North Dakota company, AE2S Construction, which is doing business as EIM, performed electrical work at a wastewater treatment plant in Detroit Lakes. The project was partially funded by a state grant. DLI determined the business did not pay its employees the correct wage set under state prevailing-wage law. The company also failed to pay its employees overtime wages and misclassified some of its employees as apprentices, instead of electricians.

The investigation, from March 2018 to December 2020, resulted in DLI entering into a consent order with AE2S Construction and recovering $333,984.26 in back wages through that order for 33 workers, whose individual back-wage payments ranged from $4 to $44,034. Earlier in the investigation, the company made partial overtime back-wage payments to nine workers for $832.

“Skilled construction workers involved in state-funded projects must be paid the appropriate prevailing-wage rate based on the services they perform,” said Roslyn Robertson, DLI commissioner. “Companies working in Minnesota must follow our state’s laws.”

The prevailing-wage rate is the minimum hourly wage employers must pay their employees performing construction work on projects funded in whole or in part with state dollars. Prevailing-wage rates are based on wages paid in the local community for the same type of work.