HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - PESG, a company contracted by Huntsville City Schools to hire nearly 700 positions, was hit with two lawsuits Wednesday.
One suit is being sent to federal court.
Since before this school year, a number of concerns have risen surrounding application deadlines, that led to even more confusion over pay rates, and then some people say they didn’t get paid at all, for weeks.
One suit is against PESG of Alabama, LLC and PESG Holding Company, LLC for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The complaint states that the company required its employees to attend an unpaid, yet mandatory 16-hour training.
“They did say in the emails that they were unpaid trainings, but just because they say that doesn’t mean it doesn’t violate the Fair Labor Standards Act," said Attorney Eric Atrtrip. He says FLSA allows certain training’s to be unpaid, but this particular type of training required pay.
“Anytime an employer asks you to do something and it benefits it, they have to pay you. PESG is not doing that and we don’t have any idea why," said Artrip.
The second suit delves into stipulations over pay rates.
The pay rate for Special Education Instructional Aides at $11.25, according to the contract between PESG and Huntsville City Schools, At the May Board of Education meeting when the contract was voted on, PESG’s CEO, Henry Bledsoe, promised to pay those who previously worked for the system $15 per hour.
Artrip states that’s a promise the company did not keep.
“It really looks like PESG was looking for any reason it could to get out of paying these people what it promised it would pay them," said Artrip.
The lawsuit claims Bledsoe did not live up to that promise because it was going to cost his company $225,000.
“It’s just about saving his company money at the expense of the people who are supposed to work for the Huntsville City Schools system," said Artrip.
Artrip says Wilson has no motive in removing this company from its contract, but just wants what he and everyone else what’s promised, and belongs to them by law.
Since the start of the school year, 28 special education instructional aides have quit.
We reached out to PESG for comment on these lawsuits, but we have not heard back from them.