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Woman Sues Subcontractor For Underpaid Work In Afghanistan

A Bloomington woman claims she was underpaid for the time she worked as a medical contractor in Afghanistan.

doctor in afghanistan

Photo: UK Department for International Development

A doctor listens to a patient in a new community health clinic in Danishmand, which was built with a grant from the UK-supported National Solidarity Programme.

A Bloomington woman is filing a lawsuit, claiming she was underpaid for the overtime she worked as a medical contractor in Afghanistan.

Laura Hawkins routinely worked 84-hour weeks as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, providing medical, health and safety services.

Hawkins claims the time was required for the job, but her overtime was compensated with regular pay rates, not overtime rates.

Filed last week, Hawkins’ complaint maintains that Onsite Occupational Health and Safety Inc. is obligated to pay the overtime wages under federal and state law.

But in a statement, OHS representatives say those laws don’t cover the contractor’s work because the work was performed in a foreign country.

“Federal wage payment laws do not cover work performed in a foreign country and this is admitted in the lawsuit. No Indiana court has ruled that Indiana wage laws apply to companies whose employees work in a foreign country,” the statement reads. “Onsite does not believe the allegations in the plaintiffs’ lawsuit have any merit. It believes all of these employees have received full and proper compensation for their work.”

The lawsuit filing indicates Hawkins and her counsel requested OHS provide copies of its contract with the U.S. Government relating to her employment so they could determine what rate they had agreed to pay, but OHS is refusing to provide copies.

Hawkins’ attorneys could not be reached for comment.

Alex Dierckman

Alex Dierckman is a reporter and anchor for WFIU/WTIU News and Indiana Newsdesk. She has been with the station since 2012. From Carmel, Indiana, Alex is excited to report and deliver the news in her home state. You can follow her on Twitter @alexdierckman.

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