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Appeals Court Sides With Workers In Long-Running Prevailing Wage Case

After nearly a decade of litigation, the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled on a case dealing with the state’s prevailing wage law.

For years Mechanical Contractor TECO has been at odds with employees who claimed they were underpaid for labor performed on several public works projects back in 2000 and 2001.

At issue was the rate at which they were compensated, which the employees argued was not consistent with prevailing wage law in Kentucky. TECO, in turn, filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of that law.

Ultimately, the Appeals Court sided with the workers.

"This is a landmark ruling," says Daniel Lowry with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. "What the court found that TECO was basically doing was violating the law by splitting up the employees' work hours and their pay rate. What they would do is use their own predetermined formula to come up with the pay they wanted to give them instead of what the law said they deserved."

The ruling means TECO must pay close to $124,000 in back wages, civil penalties, and interest.

But while the state’s courts – including the high court – have all weighed in on the side of the prevailing wage law, TECO has filed a petition for a rehearing with the Court of Appeals. If that’s denied, the company has one last window of 30 days to make a final appeal to the Supreme Court.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.