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DOL Recovers $3.9M in Back Wages, Damages Resulting from Reported FLSA Violations

February 10, 2022

The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has announced its recovery of a total of $3,965,756 in back wages and damages for 974 employees working for a seafood company, home health care service, bus and shuttle service, drywall installer, and a heating and air conditioning firm, for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA violations related to, among other things, bonuses omitted from overtime calculation and only paying straight time for all hours worked.

Bonuses omitted from OT calculation.United Fishing Agency has paid $117,718 in back wages and liquidated damages to 33 employees to resolve reported FLSA overtime violations. The Honolulu, Hawaii-based seafood trading company failed to include bonuses when calculating overtime pay,according to the WHD. Investigators determined that the employer should have included the bonuses in the overtime wages because they awarded the bonuses to the workers to promote their productivity. The WHD also found the company did not keep accurate payroll records, resulting in recordkeeping violations.

Straight time for all hours worked.Red Lion Home Care Inc. and its owners have been ordered to pay$2,848,362 in back wages and liquidated damages to 491 employees for FLSA minimum wage and overtime violations. The agency found that the home health care company in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, paid straight time for all hours worked and adjusted rates of pay in overtime workweeks to intentionally avoid paying an overtime premium. The employer paid overtime at a rate lower than the required time-and-a-half rate, the agency said. The WHD also found recordkeeping violations when the company failed to complete time records for all employees.

In addition to paying $1,424,181 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to the affected workers, the employer must pay $251,637 in civil money penalties as part of a consent judgment because of the willful nature of the violations.

Flat rates.Trans Express Inc., a subsidiary of National Express Transit Corp., has been ordered to pay $742,500 in back wages and liquidated damages to 368 employees for violating FLSA overtime provisions. The bus and shuttle service in Brooklyn, New York, did not pay overtime wages to drivers who picked up and dropped off passengers for the company’s clients, according to the WHD. Instead, investigators found that Trans Express paid drivers 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. The division determined that Trans Express improperly assumed its employees were not entitled to overtime under the FLSA. Investigators also found Trans Express failed to keep adequate and accurate records.

Intentionally withheld OT, lied to investigators.Intermountain Drywall and Acoustical Inc. has paid $221,053 in back wages and liquidated damages to 59 employees for violating the FLSA and lying about it to investigators, the WHD said. The Eagle, Idaho-based drywall installation company intentionally underpaid its workers by denying them earned overtime wages. The employer repeatedly told investigators that the company paid employees overtime wages at time-and-one-half rates when they worked more than 40 hours per week. However, investigators determined that the employer’s claims were untrue and that the employer had not paid workers overtime as claimed.

In addition to the back wages and liquidated damages, Intermountain paid $22,560 in civil money penalties because of the reckless nature of the violations.

Miscalculated OT.Sunset Air & Home Services Inc. has paid$36,123 in back wages and liquidated damages to 23 workers to resolve FLSA overtime violations. The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning company in Fort Myers, Florida, failed to properly calculate overtime, according to the federal agency. Investigators determined that the employer paid commissions and stipends to a rotation of on-call dispatchers but failed to include those payments in the workers’ rate of pay when calculating overtime. The WHD also found the company failed to maintain accurate time records for work conducted by the dispatchers, thus resulting in recordkeeping violations.