Posts Tagged ‘overtime pay’

$100K Closes Overtime Case Against Restaurant

A Fresno, California-area restaurant will pay $100,000 to settle findings it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Labor Department announced on July 5.

U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found that Colima’s Carniceria y Taqueria owners Maria and Martin Cobian violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay employees time-and-a-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. The employer also failed to make, keep and preserve accurate records of the wages, hours and other conditions and practices of employment.

An agreement between the department and Colima’s owners was reached, and a consent judgment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Fresno on June 15, 2017. The restaurant and its owners agreed to pay $50,000 in overtime due to workers and an equal amount in damages, totaling $100,000 for the employees. The owners will also implement a new time-keeping system and arrange for an all-employee meeting with Wage and Hour Division officials to inform workers of their FLSA rights.

“We look forward to continuing to work with employers and workers alike in the Central Valley to ensure they understand federal labor requirements for overtime and minimum wage,” said Nora Pedraza, the Wage and Hour Division’s assistant director in Fresno. “This settlement puts money back in workers’ pockets while also ensuring the company complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act in the future.”

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/.

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Overtime Rule Blocked, But Still in Effect, Lawyers Argue in Lawsuit Against Chipotle

Did the U.S. Labor Department’s overtime rule take effect on December 1 of last year, despite a court order banning the agency from enforcing it?

On the answer to that question may determine whether employees of fast-food eatery Chipotle get overtime they claim the company is denying them.

The overtime rule finalized under the Obama Administration more than doubles the income threshold-from $23,660 a year to $47,476 a year–under which workers must be eligible for overtime pay.

A federal court enjoined the DOL from enforcing the rule while it is subject to legal challenge by a coalition of states and businesses.

Attorneys for Chipolte employees in New Jersey argue because the injunction left the rule standing, it took effect on Dec 1, 2016.

The attorneys also argue that the injunction applied narrowly to the Labor Department but doesn’t block other parties, such as employees, from enforcing the rule in court.

No Fixed Start to Workweek, 8th Circuit Holds

It’s clear under the Fair Labor Standards Act that an employee is entitled to overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week. But who gets to decide when that workweek begins?

The employer does, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which ruled recently that the employer has the right to establish a workweek and was not required to begin the workweek on any given day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has ruled.

The plaintiffs in this case argued the workweek should be Thursday to Wednesday when they worked most of their hours. But the employer used a Monday through Sunday workweek.

So they get a lot less overtime doing it the employer’s way.

That’s acceptable under the FLSA, the court held.

The case is Johnson v. Heckmann Water Resources, No. 13-40824, July 14.

DOL Lawsuit Demands Utah Company Return Overtime Wages to Employees

A company cannot demand back the wages it wrongfully withheld from employees. That truism apparently escaped the notice of a Utah tree trimming and stump removal company, which the U.S. Department of Labor took to court last week in an effort to refund the employees their money.

DOL said that an investigation by its Salt Lake City field office revealed that Diamond Tree Experts paid its workers who worked overtime straight pay rather than time and one half as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The company paid the workers what they were owed, but then demanded the money back, the DOL charged. That’s a violation of the FLSA’s prohibition against retaliation for workers exercising their rights. According to the government’s complaint, the company required two employees to return $7,500 in back wages and when they refused to do so it fired them.

Sounds like a case of the company shooting itself in the foot and winding up in court, an outcome it apparently wanted to avoid in the first place when it paid the back ages due.

Here’s more on the DOL’s lawsuit.

No Overtime Pay for Mortgage Bankers, 6th Circuit Rules

Employees seeking overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act continue to run up against the various exemptions to the law. One of these exemptions is for employees who make not less than $455 a week, who primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers, and who exercise discretion and independent judgment on significant matters.

Applying this exemption, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 25 ruled that mortgage bankers working for Quicken Loans were not entitled to overtime pay.

To satisfy the management-related prong, the employee’s “primary duty” must involve “work directly related to the management or general business operations” of the company or its customers.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor:

“Employees in the financial services industry generally meet the duties requirements for the administrative exemption if their duties include work such as collecting and analyzing information regarding the customer’s income, assets, investments or debts; determining which financial products best meet the customer’s needs and financial circumstances; advising the customer regarding the advantages and disadvantages of different financial products; and marketing, servicing, or promoting the employer’s financial products. However, an employee whose primary duty is selling financial products does not qualify for the administrative exemption.”

The evidence supported the jury’s finding that the first sentence of this statement more aptly described the mortgage bankers’ “primary duty” than the second, the appeals court said.

As to the discretion-and-independent-judgment prong,  Quicken had to show that the mortgage bankers’ “primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.”

The appeals court summarized thusly: “The jury concluded—after listening to forty witnesses and five weeks of testimony—that the mortgage bankers’ interactions with customers fit this description. That is a reasonable finding of fact, leaving us no basis for disturbing it.”

Read the entire opinion here.

Wal-Mart to Pony Up $4.8 Million for Overtime Violations

Wal Mart must pay $4.8 millions to make up for denying overtime wages to roughly 4,500 employees, the U.S. Labor Department ordered Tuesday.

The beneficiaries are vision center managers and asset-protection coordinators who have worked in Wal-Mart beween 2004 and 2007. The company had considered the emploeyes exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act but reclassified them in 2007.

Find out more about this week’s settlement here.

The asset-protection coordinators will receive an average of $290 under the agreement, whiel the average recovery for vision center managers is $2,300.

“Let this be a signal to other companies that when violations are found, the Labor Department will take appropriate action to ensure that workers receive the wages they have earned,” said Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis.

Unfortunately for its workers, Wal-Mart has been down this road before. In 2007, the Labor Department ordered it to pay nearly $34 million in back wages to 87,000 workers–some of whom were owed more than $10,000 each.

The FLSA requires that employers pay employees overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. If you need a refresher, here’s DOL’s wage law summary sheet.