Faulty math and miscounted work time equals a big FLSA overtime complaint

by on March 31, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Here are a few examples of FLSA overtime violations and their financial cost

Katrina puffs up again. 1.8M for FLSA overtime violation

Hurricane Katrina continues to blow, at least for a Houston-based tree removal service. The company owes $1.8 million to 2,500 employees in back overtime – some of it for emergency work done on the Gulf Coast after the storm in August 2005.

With any luck, your company won’t face a hurricane disaster. But have you factored possible overtime costs into your emergency preparedness plan?

Cite: DOL v. ABC Prof. Tree Services.

Firm’s miscount equals a FLSA overtime complaint

When bosses at one Washington state business calculated non-exempt workers’ hours, they rounded down, nipping three minutes here, two minutes there from their time sheets.

All those minutes added up when wage-and-hour inspectors responded to a call from employees.

The employer had to pay $381,000 in back wages to 1,237 current and past employees who didn’t get the FLSA overtime pay they deserved.

Remember: When calculating overtime, count each minute worked.

Cite: EEOC v. Muckleshoot Casino.

Faulty math violated FLSA overtime rules

During a wage and hour investigation, DOL inspectors determined a call center used faulty math in determining non-exempt workers’ hours. If an employee worked 15 hours during week one week of a two-week pay period and 43 hours the second week, the hours were averaged together and the worker was denied overtime.

The employer agreed to pay 269 current and past workers a total of $48,307 and to remain in FLSA compliance in the future.

When calculating hours under FLSA overtime standards, the only thing that really matters is whether the worker put in more than forty hours during any one week – not during any one pay period, as some managers believe.

Cite: DOL v. Accent Marketing.

FLSA overtime regs don’t vanish with a creative math formula

Two companies in Utah and California apparently labored under the same delusion – that you can break a work week in pieces to avoid FLSA overtime rules

DOL said the Utah company, a drywall contractor, paid employees for overtime via a separate “bonus” check, at straight time rates.

Meantime, the California company, a garment contractor, used a second time card for Saturdays and paid cash for that work.

The companies owed a total of $106,000 in back overtime as a result.

Cite: DOL v. T.J. Enterprises & Acoustical Inc., DOL v. Reuben’s Garment Cutting & Marking.

No game of chance with FLSA overtime rules

The DOL looks into all kinds of businesses to ensure FLSA compliance

In a recent FLSA compliance case, Wage and Hour investigators found bingo callers, game operators and food service workers were losing out on overtime pay when they worked in excess of 40 hours in one week.

More than 150 workers cried “BINGO!” and shared a $117,468 back-pay jackpot.

Cite: DOL v. BJ’s Bingo.

Employer pays overtime, but no fine for FLSA compliance violation

If you fail to pay employees overtime because of an honest mistake, come clean, pay what you owe and there’s a good chance you will avoid fines and other penalties.

When a national auto parts retailer conducted a self audit, it realized that it owed $131,658 in overtime to 127 employees. Apparently, time sheets had been calculated incorrectly.

The company – which had no history of FLSA overtime violations – promptly paid its workers what it owed them and avoided further fines.

Cite: DOL v. W.E. Lahr Co.

FLSA Overtime oversight

Dollar Tree Stores failed to include night premium pay and incentive bonuses in computing the overtime pay rate for its employees.

In addition, merchandise managers and managers in training weren’t paid overtime. Under FLSA overtime rules, they should have been.

The company agreed to pay $582,000 in back wages and interest to some 3,650 current and former employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor.

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