Federal Investigation Recovers $221K In Back Wages, Damages For 59 Workers // Federal Court Orders Shuttle Service To Pay $742K In Wages, Damages To 368 Employees After Department of Labor Investigation & Litigation
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it recovered $221,053 in back wages and liquidated damages for 59 drywall installation workers in Idaho, after their employer denied them earned overtime wages.
The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) found the employer intentionally underpaid its workers by denying them their rightfully overtime wages earned, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The employer, according to the DOL, repeatedly told investigators that the company paid employees overtime wages at time-and-one-half their rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours per week, as the law requires. Investigators, however, determined the employer’s claims were untrue and that the employer had not paid workers overtime as claimed.
In another matter, the DOL announced that a federal court entered a consent judgment ordering a Brooklyn, New York bus and shuttle service to pay $742,500 in back wages and liquidated damages for overtime wages denied to 368 shuttle drivers, following an investigation and litigation by the DOL.
The WHD investigation determined that the employer failed to pay overtime wages to employees who picked up and dropped off passengers for the company’s clients. The WHD found the drivers were paid flat rates ranging from approximately $100 to $190 per day without regard to the number of hours they worked in a day or in a workweek. Employees typically worked 45 to 60 hours per workweek, and the FLSA requires employers to pay overtime when employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The WHD found the company improperly assumed its employees were not entitled to overtime under the FLSA, and investigators also found that the employer failed to keep adequate and accurate records as required by law.
Private Litigation, Minimum Wage & Overtime Under The FLSA
Employees have the right to file a private lawsuit to recover back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. In such a case, the Department of Labor will not seek the same back wages and liquidated damages on that employee’s behalf.
Workers are reminded that the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour (effective July 24, 2009). Many states also have minimum wage laws, and in cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage.
Nonexempt employees covered by the FLSA must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours – seven consecutive 24-hour periods), at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.
Additionally, hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on an employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace; employers must display an official poster outlining the requirements of the FLSA; and employers must also keep employee time and pay records.
EMPLOYEES WHO BELIEVE THEY HAVE BEEN HARMED BY EMPLOYER WAGE AND HOUR VIOLATIONS ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONTACT KEHOE LAW FIRM, P.C. BY COMPLETING THE FORM ABOVE ON THE RIGHT OR VIA [email protected] FOR A FREE, NO-OBLIGATION EVALUATION OF POTENTIAL LEGAL CLAIMS.