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Labor Commissioner Orders Pamplin Broadcasting to Pay Back Wages to Radio Hosts

BOLI finds that the radio personalities were employees, rather than contractors and were owed overtime.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries today ordered Pamplin Broadcasting to pay a total of $55,000 in civil penalties and back wages to former KPAM (AM 860) radio hosts Carl Wolfson and Margie Boule.

In a 56-page final order, BOLI found that Pamplin wrongly classified the pair as independent contractors when hosted the "Margie and Carl" show in 2016 and 2017. In fact, BOLI found, Boule, a former Oregonian columnist and Wolfson, a longtime stand-up comedian, were effectively employees and thus eligible for overtime pay.

"BOLI applied the 'economic realities' test applied by courts and in previous agency orders to distinguish an employee from an independent contractor under Oregon's minimum wage laws, and found the majority of the factors weighed heavily in favor of an employer/employee relationship," the agency said in a statement.

The former hosts will each get about $12,000 and Pamplin was ordered, after a contested case hearing, to pay BOLI $30,700 in civil penalties.

Pamplin Broadcasting was owned by the local businessman Robert Pamplin, Jr., who still owns Pamplin Media, a chain of two dozen Oregon newspapers including the Portland Tribune.

A radio industry trade publication reported that in October 2017, Pamplin Broadcasting sold its two stations, KPAM and KKOV to Intelli LLC of San Jose, Calif. for $1.2 million.

Pamplin's attorney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.