AtWork! dumps subminimum wage jobs for clients with disabilities

August 6, 2015

NEW — 6 p.m. Aug. 6, 2015

As of Jan. 1 of this year, the Washington state minimum wage became $9.47 per hour.

However, there are 40 organizations statewide authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor to pay subminimum wages. One of those organizations is Issaquah’s AtWork!, which helps put people with disabilities from all around the Seattle area into wage-earning jobs. Rules allow some workers with disabilities to be paid less than minimum wage based on their productivity.

As of the end of July, AtWork! officials were happy to announce, via press release, that it would no longer place any employee in a position that earns less than the state minimum wage.

“We believe that all workers have a basic right to integrated employment at a fair wage, including workers with disabilities,” Chris Brandt, AtWork! CEO, said in the news release. “How serendipitous that the 25th anniversary of the ADA coincides with AtWork!’s end to paying subminimum wages. We are proud and honored to celebrate these two momentous events.” Read more

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Summit Drywall Inc. ordered to pay $550,000 to settle federal labor lawsuit

February 21, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 21, 2014

An Issaquah drywall contractor has agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit that alleged the company cheated nearly 400 workers out of overtime wages over a three-and-a-half year period.

Summit Drywall will pay $275,000 in back wages and another $275,000 in damages to workers who were illegally denied overtime compensation from October 2009 to April 2013, the labor department said Feb. 20.

About 380 current and former employees will receive money from the settlement, made final by a consent judgment in federal district court in Seattle.

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Thai Ginger owner sentenced for immigration scheme

February 23, 2010

A judge sentenced the owner of the Thai Ginger restaurant chain, Issaquah resident Varee Bradford, to six months in prison last week for her role in what authorities described as a long-running immigration scam. Read more

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Thai Ginger owner sentenced for immigration scheme

February 19, 2010

NEW — 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19, 2010

A judge sentenced the owner of the Thai Ginger restaurant chain, Issaquah resident Varee Bradford, to six months in prison Friday for her role in what authorities described as a long-running immigration scam.

Bradford, 44, recruited U.S. citizens to enter sham marriages with Thai citizens in order for the immigrants to obtain legal status to stay in the United States. She pleaded guilty last October to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and three counts of fraud relating to immigration documents. Agents arrested Bradford for the immigration scheme last June at her Issaquah home.

“You used your money and position to circumvent the law,” U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told Bradford during the sentencing hearing. “This mocks the efforts of immigrants who work hard and wait years to obtain citizenship.”

Thai Ginger operates restaurants in Klahanie, Bellevue, Redmond and Seattle.

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