Posts Tagged ‘Fair Labor Standards Act’

Six Figure FLSA Award Against Building Co.

A building company in Idaho is paying the price of not paying its workers overtime pay and taking money from their paycheck to pay for the cost of work tools, according to an announcement today from the U.S. Department of Labor.

U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found that Boise, Idaho-based Forge Building Company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions. The company – a provider of customized manufactured galvanized steel structures and storage facilities – failed to pay workers overtime at time-and-one-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week. In addition, the employer made illegal deductions from workers’ paychecks to recoup the cost of tools it required them to purchase. These deductions had the effect of lowering the workers’ pay below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

In an agreement with the department, Forge will pay minimum wages to eight employees and overtime premium to 97 employees, with total back wages calculated at $358,601. The company also agreed to pay an equal sum of $358,601 in damages, totaling $717,202 for the workers.

Our investigation has discovered violations resulting in wages that these workers had rightfully earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva. “This case allows us to level the playing field for all of the employers who play by the rules. We are dedicated to protect both workers and employers.”

Information: For more information about federal wage laws administered by division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

Sewing Company in Massachusetts to Pay $890K to Settle Wage Claims Filed Against it by US DOL

It’s going to take government action to stand up for the common man or woman. So thank goodness for the U.S. Department of Labor, which just brought an action to make sure that employees at a Massachusetts sewing company got their fair wages.

The DOL announced on March 10 that it had reached an agreement with UnWrapped, Inc.,  allowing employees of the Massachusetts sewing factory to recover $890,021 in back wages and liquidated damages to resolve past violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

UnWrapped failed to pay proper overtime rates to 327 piece rate and hourly workers between April 2014 and April 2016, and failed to keep accurate records, Wage and Hour Division investigators found.

Who knows? You might be sleeping on an Unwrapped-sewn product tonight., UnWrapped is a Lowell, Mass., company that produces products, such as mattress covers, pillows, tote bags and custom items, under contract

The division’s investigation was part of a joint enforcement effort with the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The state’s investigation identified alleged violations of Massachusetts law involving failure to pay minimum wage, failure to provide earned sick time and retaliation against two workers who cooperated with the investigation, for which the company will pay $293,170.

Under the terms of the Wage and Hour Division agreement, UnWrapped will complete payment of back wages and damages to the workers by no later than March 15, 2017, and will submit proof of payment to the division. The company has paid a civil money penalty of $8,350 for a child labor violation and also agreed to refrain from retaliation against any employees for filing a complaint or testifying in a matter related to the FLSA.

Fitness Company Throws In Towel, Settles DOL Findings It Overdeducted for Employee Uniforms

As post-election debate ensues about raising the minimum wage, the enforcement of the current minimum wage proceeds on a case-by-case basis.

There will be a little something extra in the paychecks of more than 15,000 employees of Minnesota-based Life Time Fitness Inc. after the company agreed to settle U.S. Department of Labor findings that the company took deductions for employee uniforms that resulted in them earning less than the minimum wage.

15,909 employees nationwide will split  total of $976,765 – $488,229 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, DOL announced todaytoday.

Here’s the important distinction the case makes: Employers are allowed to take deductions for the cost of uniforms, but those deductions cannot bring an employee’s earnings below the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 an hour).

Under the settlement, the company also has to pay civil money penalties of $99,825 for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Investigators found violations at the following locations:

  • Fridley, Minnesota: back wages of $2,757 due to 87 employees.
  • Lakeville, Minnesota: back wages of $7,895 due to 240 employees.
  • Roseville, Minnesota: back wages of $1,247 due to 36 employees.
  • Corporate-wide: back wages of $476,329 due to 15,546 employees at locations in 26 states.

Based in Chanhassen, Minnesota, the Healthy Way of Life Company is a privately held, health and lifestyle company. As of October 2016, the company operates 122 centers in 26 states and 35 major markets in the U.S. and Canada under the Life Time Fitness and Life Time Athletic brands.

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$570K in BackPay for D.C.-Area Johnny Rockets Workers Denied Minimum Wages and Overtime

Servers at Washington, D.C-area Johnny Rockets restaurants who were gipped out of their wages have cause for celebration.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced yesterday that it a D.C. federal district court ordered  the owners of two DC-area Rockets restaurants to pay $571,460 in back wages to 55 servers denied the minimum wage and overtime.

The judgment resolves a lawsuit filed by the department after an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division focused on the fast food restaurants’ franchise locations at Union Station in the District of Columbia, and in Arlington, Virginia. The lawsuit sought to recover $285,730 in minimum wages and overtime back wages, including the misappropriated tips, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages, for the 55 employees.

The investigation found that as early as February 2013 until at least May 2015, the defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when they required 55 servers to contribute a portion of their total tips back to the employer, who then distributed the money to cooks and dishwashers, who were not tipped employees. Also, in doing so, the employer paid servers less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 as required.

Additionally, the defendants failed to pay required overtime wages to employees when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, and did not keep accurate records of all hours worked by employees.

The consent judgment orders the defendants to pay $285,730 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

Restaurant Docked $700K for FLSA Violations

Violations of the wage and hour rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act have proven costly for a restaurant group in Wisconsin.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Wednesday that El Azteca restaurants in Appleton, De Pere and Neena and their owners and managers – Marco Montalvo, Fe Montalvo and Sergio Jimenez – will pay 129 current and former employees a total of $700,000, including $350,000 in back wages and additional $350,000 in liquidated damages. The companies and individual defendants will also pay $25,000 in civil money penalties for violating the FLSA.

The findings of DOL investigators reads like a classic what-not-to-do.

Investigators found the restaurants failed to comply with the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions by:

  • Failing to record daily and weekly work hours and earnings accurately, resulting in not only a recordkeeping violation but also in the employer failing to pay employees for all the hours that they worked.
  • Paying kitchen staff flat salaries without regard to the number of  hours they worked, resulting in violations of the overtime regulations when these employees worked over 40 hours in a workweek and were not paid overtime.
  • Making illegal deductions from servers’ and bussers’ pay for uniform shirts, nametags and aprons, resulting in minimum wage violations.

The consent judgment settling the DOL action also requires the employer to:

  • Provide every current and future employee with the following Wage and Hour Division publications in both Spanish and English:
  • Provide each employee with the Wage and Hour Division’s phone number.
  • Provide each employee on each pay date with a pay stub, showing the specific dates of the pay period, total hours worked and paid, rate of pay, overtime hours paid, overtime rate of pay, gross amounts paid and all deductions taken by defendants. The stub must show all pay and deductions regardless of whether the pay was by check or in cash.
  • Conduct quarterly reviews of time and payroll records at each location.

Here’s the DOL’s announcement of the settlement in the case.

DOL: Cleaning Company Owes $104K for Not Paying Employees for Travel Time Between Sites

Employers must pay their employees for all time worked, including time spent traveling between worksites.

So reminded the U.S. Department of Labor last week in announcing the findings of an investigation of minimum wage and overtime claims against a Wisconsin industrial cleaning company.

DOL said that its investigators found that the contractor, Mid Valley Industrial failed to pay workers for all their time spent loading trucks and driving to job sites, resulting in violations of the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Fifty six workers injured by these practices will share an award of $104,421 in back wages, DOL announced.

Investigators found minimum wage and overtime violations occurred when employees were not compensated for time spent reporting to the employer’s shop, loading trucks and driving to job sites. Additionally, at least one salaried employee was erroneously classified as exempt from overtime. The company also failed to maintain accurate records of hours worked by employees.

“Other employers who may be committing this same violation should take note, and rectify their practices,” the DOL said.

Here’s the DOL’s Feb. 11 announcement of the award.

DOL: Meat Market On Hook for $149K in Back Wages, Damages for FLSA Overtime Violations

Eight employees at a Selma, California meat market will share in $149,000 in back wages and damages resulting from the market’s failure to pay them overtime, the U.S. Department of Labor announced last Friday, February 5.

According to the DOL, Alfonso’s Carniceria, Inc., doing business as Alfonso’s Meat Market, failed to pay cashiers, prep cooks and the butcher’s assistant for all the hours that they worked. In addition, the company paid two butchers flat salaries, without regard to how many hours they worked. This resulted in the employer failing to pay these workers overtime for hours they worked beyond 40 in a week. The firm also failed to maintain records required by the FLSA.

It’s the latest instance of the DOL holding restaurants’ feet to the fire when it comes to complying with the nation’s wage and hour laws.  In January DOL got 10 restaurants of the San Jose Mexican Restaurants chain in North Carolina to agree to pay $511,745 in back wages to 125 employees unlawfully deprived of their proper pay.

Here’s the Feb. 5 announcement of the action against Alfonso’s Meat Market.