Professional Service Agreement

DOL recovers $669K in Unpaid Wages for 307 Employees Due to Wage and Hour Violations

March 04, 2021

In separate settlements, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recovered $669,463 in unpaid wages for 307 workers due to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) violations. The violations relate to: paying flat salaries, and no overtime; off the clock work; deliberate misclassification of employees as independent contractors; and paying less than prevailing wages on a federal contract.

Straight time, flat salaries, no OT.Minneapolis-St. Paul-area Supermercado Lomabonita, with five locations, will pay$212,459 in overtime back wages to 81 cooks, butchers, bakers, and cashiers to resolve overtime and other FLSA violations. The WHD found that the grocer paid employees "straight-time" for all hours worked, including overtime hours that should have been paid at time-and-one-half their regular pay rates. The employer also failed to combine hours that employees worked at multiple store sites during the same workweek, leading to violations when total weekly hours exceeded 40, but the workers were not paid overtime. Plus, the grocer erroneously considered some employees exempt, paying them a flat salary when they worked up to 70 hours a week, instead of paying overtime for more than 40 hours in a week. Further, the employer neglected to maintain accurate records of the number of hours employees worked.

OT and child labor violations.Bryers of MB Inc. and Rowland Dairies Inc., which operate six Ben & Jerry’s, has agreed to pay a total of $16,250 in back wages for their failure to pay FLSA-required overtime at six Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, locations. Investigators found that the employer paid workers straight-time for all the hours worked, failing to pay overtime when workers’ hours exceeded 40 in a workweek. The WHD also assessed a $5,110 civil money penalty for violations of child labor requirements after the employer allowed two 12-year-olds to operate snow-cone stands, a violation of minimum age requirements for non-agricultural work. The employer in addition failed to keep accurate records detailing the minors’ birth dates and the number of hours some employees worked.

Deliberate misclassification.Konstrak Builders, which provides maintenance and repair services to Mobil gas stations on Guam, will pay$51,481 in back overtime wages to 23 workers for failing to pay overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The company deliberately misclassified employees as independent contractors, violating the FLSA when it continued to pay straight-time wages for all hours worked. The employer also failed to keep accurate payroll records as required. In addition to the overtime back wages, the WHD assessed Konstrak $10,000 in penalties for the willful nature of the violations.

Off-the-clock work.Sprouts Farmers Market, an Irvine, California, supermarket, has paid$51,430 in back wages owed to 56 workers due to FLSA overtime violations. Investigators determined that the employer failed to record and pay for hours that workers in its bakery, deli, meat/seafood, and health and beauty departments worked off the clock, including work performed before and after their scheduled shifts and during meal breaks for which they had clocked out. By doing so, the employer incurred overtime violations when the unpaid time occurred in workweeks of more than 40 hours. The employer’s failure to keep accurate time records also resulted in a recordkeeping violation.

No OT, just cash at lower than straight time.Somerset, New Jersey, landscaper A.W. Contracting Inc. has paid$66,742 in back wages to 12 employees to resolve FLSA overtime violations. The WHD found that the employer failed to pay the workers required overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Instead, the employer paid workers for their first 40 hours each week in a payroll check, and paid overtime hours in cash, at less than their straight-time rates. A.W. Contracting also failed to maintain required records of the actual number of hours employees worked.

OT paid in cash at straight time, unreported records.Asian Construction Development Corp. has paid$202,390 in unpaid overtime wages to 43 workers who traveled from the Philippines to Guam through a federal temporary work visa program. While working at various construction sites on Guam, the employer willfully withheld overtime pay, for which the division assessed $29,971 in civil money penalties. Investigators found the general contractor paid workers for their first 40 hours each week by check and recorded these payments in their payroll records. However, the employer paid for any overtime hours employees worked in cash, at straight-time rates, and kept a separate, unreported record of these

Less than prevailing wages on federal contract.Mustang Ridge Construction of Salem, Oregon, a subcontractor Meili Construction Inc. of Eugene, is paying$68,711 in back wages to 31 employees who worked on a Eugene-Springfield area public housing project funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Investigators found that Mustang Ridge Construction paid several employees rates below those required on the contract. The employer erroneously paid workers performing carpentry at laborer rates for some of their hours, rather than at the higher carpenter rates required under the DBRA. The employer also underpaid two forklift operators for some of their hours. Mustang Ridge also violated federal recordkeeping requirements when they paid workers biweekly on this federally financed contract, rather than weekly.