Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of Labor’

The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $71,809 in minimum wage and overtime back wages for 48 workers jointly employed by GHM Wentworth LLC, doing business as Wentworth by the Sea Hotel in New Castle, and contractor Eco-Clean New England Inc., doing business as The Cleaning Crew in Londonderry. Wentworth contracted its housekeeping and kitchen work through Eco-Clean; consequently, the companies were jointly responsible for ensuring compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found that employees, many of whom traveled more than 120 miles daily between the Boston area and New Castle, were not properly compensated. Employees were paid “straight time” wages rather than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 during a single week, as required by the FLSA’s overtime provisions. Additionally, minimum wage violations resulted when the employers failed to provide wages owed from several payrolls and when some resort employees were not compensated for all hours of their work.

GHM Wentworth Inc. has agreed to pay all back wages due the affected employees and to maintain future compliance with the FLSA. The company also has committed to ensuring full compliance by all contractors with which it has a joint employment relationship. Specifically, the company will require Eco-Clean to submit weekly payroll documents to ensure that the jointly employed workers are being paid proper wages for all hours worked.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular hourly rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

If you believe you are owed for unpaid overtime or wages you should contact the U.S. Department of Labor or a law firm that handles wage and hour litigation. Feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you are entitled to be paid time and a half for each hour worked over 40 in a given week. When computing these hours, the employer should normally include off the clock training.

Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Tulsa-based United States Beef Corp., doing business as Arby’s, has agreed to pay $56,838 in back wages to 759 current and former hourly paid managers in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Investigators found that at 255 Arby’s locations in the five states, bonuses paid to managers were not included in regular rates of pay when overtime was computed. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered employees be paid time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

Additionally, managers in training at an Arby’s in Wichita, Kan., were required to review training material outside of their work hours and not properly compensated for this time. Under the FLSA, employees must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked.

“We are pleased that this company has agreed to change its practices to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the department’s Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The Wage and Hour Division actively pursues systemic violations by multi-state employers wherever employees are affected by bad practices.”

If you believe you have not been paid properly by your employer speak to the U.S. Department of Labor or an attorney that specializes in wage and hour law. Feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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In the past I have blogged about recent attempts by employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors in violation of Federal Law. Many employers will misclassify employees to avoid: (1) having to pay workers compensation; (2) having to pay unemployment taxes; (3) having to pay payroll taxes; (4) having to pay overtime and (5) having to comply with many other federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination. IN MOST CASES EVEN IF YOUR EMPLOYER SAYS YOU ARE AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR—-YOU LEGALLY ARE NOT ONE!!! Speak to an attorney or the Department of Labor to discuss this issue.

The U.S. Department of Labor has been cracking down on those employers who improperly misclassify employees to avoid overtime pay. A Tulsa-based firm that specializes in drilling petroleum wells has been drilled by the U.S. Department of Labor. For instance the DOL just fined Latshaw Drillling Company.

An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Latshaw Drilling Company denied overtime for several dozen workers who had been misclassified as independent contractors.

Cynthia Watson a regional administrator for the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division said: “Latshaw Drilling took advantage of vulnerable workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors rather than regular employees. As a result, they were denied rightful wages and legal protections that are guaranteed under federal law. This practice is illegal and unacceptable.”

The workers were paid straight time instead of time and a-half for hours worked over 40 in a week, as required in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Some employees worked up to 72 hours in a week. 34 painters and sand blasters recovered more than $70,000 in back wages.
Latshaw Drilling has agreed to maintain future compliance by ensuring that all employees are properly classified.

If you believe you have been improperly classified as an independent contractor by your employer, go to the U.S. Department of Labor or an attorney that specializes in wage and hour laws. Feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a consultation.

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The news continues to show that the workers that seem to most frequently get their wages stolen from them are restaurant workers. Frequently not getting paid minimum wage or overtime wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The owner of Ayara Thai Cuisine restaurant in must pay $162,201 in back wages to 35 employees for violating federal minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping laws, officials said Monday.

Ayara Thai owner Ayut Asapahu paid his workers in cash at a flat rate for their hours worked. The rate was below minimum wage and without regard to overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a statement.

Investigators determined that the restaurant owner failed to keep records of employees’ hours and pay, but learned through an investigation that Asapahu paid his kitchen employees $80 to $110 for an 11- to 12-hour workday.

Other employees worked six- to 12-hour workdays, most receiving a daily rate of $45 to $50, authorities said.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked. They also must be paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 hours a week or eight hours a day.

Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

“Many restaurant workers in the Los Angeles area are subject to unacceptable wage practices and irregularities, and we are determined to make sure that they and other vulnerable employees are paid proper wages,” Kimchi Bui, director of the Los Angeles district office of the Labor Department’s

If you believe you are not getting paid properly by your employer, feel free to contact Scott M. Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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A federal appeals court last July ruled Novartis reps are not exempt from overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and, therefore, should be paid overtime. The same court also upheld a similar decision reached two years ago against Schering-Plough by a federal court, which denied a motion to dismiss a case brought against the drugmaker by some of its sales reps.

The decision against Novartis and Schering-Plough was made by the Second Circuit, which presides over territory where other lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Laboratories and Bristol-Myers Squibb. As a result, the Supreme Court decision suggests that sales reps are likely to win their cases in these jurisdictions. However, this will not effect, for now, a recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit, which ruled in favor of Glaxo that sales reps do not qualify for overtime pay.

The Second Circuit found that sales reps are not exempt from overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA’s overtime compensation requirement doesn’t apply to employees who work as outside salespeople, but the law does require employers to pay overtime for hours worked beyond 40 hours a week, unless a FLSA exemption applies.

Drugmakers argue their sales reps are, indeed, outside salespeople who close sales because the primary customer is the physician. But in 2009, the US Department of Labor added an unexpected twist to the debate by filing an amicus brief with a federal appeals court contending that a lower court was wrong to toss their lawsuit.

So if you have worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative, you may be entitled to be paid overtime, but don’t delay, since typically you can only seek overtime up to three years from the date you file your lawsuit. For analysis of any of your overtime claims, feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm which has extensive experience in litigation of overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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For those of you who are under the age of eighteen or or have children under eighteen, you all should be aware of the changes in child labor regulations going into effect next week. The Department of Labor states that these are the most far reaching changes in child labor laws in thirty years.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets wage, hours worked, and safety requirements for minors (individuals under age 18) working in jobs covered by the statute. The rules vary depending upon the particular age of the minor and the particular job involved. As a general rule, the FLSA sets 14 years of age as the minimum age for employment, and limits the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16.

Also, the FLSA generally prohibits the employment of a minor in work declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor (for example, work involving excavation, driving, and the operation of many types of power-driven equipment). The FLSA contains a number of requirements that apply only to particular types of jobs (for example, agricultural work or the operation of motor vehicles) and many exceptions to the general rules (for example, work by a minor for his or her parents). Each state also has its own laws relating to employment, including the employment of minors. If state law and the FLSA overlap, the law which is more protective of the minor will apply.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), youths 14 and 15 years old may work outside school hours in various non-manufacturing, non-mining, non-hazardous jobs under certain conditions.
Permissible work hours for 14- and 15-year-olds are:
3 hours on a school day;
18 hours in a school week;
8 hours on a non-school day;
40 hours in a non-school week; and
between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when nighttime work hours are extended to 9 p.m.

So what has been changed in the new Rule?

Well the rule now strengthens child labor laws to protect against workplace hazards. Although these restrictions are probably not normally coming into application, some examples of new prohibitions impacting the employment of youth under the age of 18 years include:

Working at poultry slaughtering and packaging plants;
Riding on a forklift as a passenger;
Working in forest fire fighting, forestry services, and timber tract management;
Operating certain power-driven hoists and work assist vehicles;
Operating balers and compacters designed or used for non-paper products; and
Operating power-driven chain saws, wood chippers, reciprocating saws, and abrasive cutting discs.

In addition, until recently children aged 14 and 15 were required to only work in retail, food service and gasoline industries. The rule now expands youth workplace opportunities that have been judged to be safe for young workers. Examples include:

By removing a 40-year-old provision that generally limits the employment of 14- and 15-year-olds to jobs in retail, food service, and gasoline service establishments, the rule opens up safe and positive employment opportunities in industries such as advertising, banking, and information technology. The Final Rule allows 14- and 15-year-olds to perform work of an intellectual or artistic nature in establishments that were previously prohibited. Such work includes computer programming, drawing, and teaching. The Final Rule also incorporates into the regulations two long standing Departmental enforcement positions that permit 16- and 17-year-olds to operate, under specified conditions, power-driven pizza-dough rollers and portable, countertop food mixers.

If you believe you or a child you know is being worked in violation of these rules, you should contact the U.S. Department of Labor or speak to a qualified employment law attorney.

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As you my recall, I have blogged on occasions about whether employees are entitled to be paid overtime. Under the Federal Law that governs this issue, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), many employees are considered “exempt” from overtime based upon different Federal regulations. One of the federal exemptions applies to Outside Sales Employees.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and to be exempt from overtime as an Outside Sales Employee, The employee’s primary duty must be making sales (as defined in the FLSA), or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer; and the employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of business. The U.S. Department of Labor further defines these terms in their Fact Sheet 17F.

Just recently, however, a federal court judge has ruled Abbott Lab reps are not exempt from overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and, therefore, should be paid overtime. The ruling, which came in the form of a summary judgment and is now headed to trial to determine damages for about 80 Abbott rep.

Drugmakers argue their sales reps are, indeed, outside salespeople who close sales because the primary customer is the physician. But recently, the US Department of Labor added an unexpected twist to the debate by filing an amicus brief with a federal appeals court contending that a lower court was wrong to toss their lawsuit.
In the latest ruling, US District Court Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District Court of Illinois, decided the Labor Department’s “interpretation is both persuasive and consistent with our analysis of the regulations (which) dictate that if an employee does not make any sales or obtain any sales orders or contracts, then the outside sales exemption does not apply.” He also rejected Abbott’s argument that reps are exempt from overtime as administrative employees. To qualify for the exemption, employees must exercise discretion and independent judgment “with respect to matters of significance.” The DOL maintains reps don’t have that kind of independence since they’re given lists of docs to visit and must present scripted messages.

I have attached a copy of the Judge’s recent decision.Decision of Court Against Abbot Labs

So if you are a sales person or pharmaceutical rep who sells outside of the office, but is not paid overtime, consult with an employment lawyer to discuss what you may be entitled to be paid.

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