The U.S. Department of Labor recently succeeded in recovering over $50,000 of back wages for more than 50 employees who worked for Sprouts Farmers Market, which the DOL claimed did not record nor pay employees for work that they performed off of the clock, before and after scheduled shift times, and during meal breaks. Employers are obligated to pay their employees for all hours that the employees work, even if such hours are off of the clock or before or after their scheduled shift. The failure to record or pay for these hours resulted in the employer violating overtime laws pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under that law, almost all hourly employees are entitled to time-and-a-half overtime wages for every hour that they work over forty in a workweek. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20210216-2
A recent investigation by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has resulted in payment of $339,418 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages after a consent judgment. The investigation determined that the restaurant paid certain of its non-tipped employees at a “training” rate of $3.75 per hour until the employees proved to be efficient on the job. The investigation also found that the company did not pay its employees time and a half overtime wages for hours that the employees worked over forty in a workweek. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employers pay employees at least minimum wages, even when the work performed is for “training.” Additionally the FLSA mandates payment of time and a half overtime wages for hourly employees for their hours worked over forty in a workweek. See Acosta v. Freddie’s Inc., No. 1:17-cv-04347 (N.D. Ill.).
A national food distribution company recently agreed to pay over $136,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 47 employees after the Department of Labor investigated and found overtime and other Fair Labor Standards Act violations. The DOL determined that the company misclassified employees as independent contractors and then did not pay the employees at least minimum wages and time and a half overtime wages. The company paid employees on a piece rate basis and did not make payments based on the hours worked by the employees. The DOL found that some employees were not compensated at least minimum wages based on the hours that they had actually worked, and also that the company paid the same piece rate basis for overtime hours worked by employees. Employers are obligated to pay employees at least minimum wages for their hours worked, and many employees are owed time and a half overtime wages for their hours worked over forty in a workweek, sometimes even when the employee is paid on a salary basis.
The Department of Labor recently settled with a restaurant after the DOL found that the company had failed to pay its employees all applicable overtime and minimum wages by not paying minimum wage to dishwashers and to a server who was performing work for the restaurant while receiving compensation only in the form of tips. The DOL further found that cooks, dishwashers, and servers did not receive appropriate time and a half overtime payments for their hours worked over forty in a workweek. Even tipped hourly employees must received the tip server minimum wage directly from the employer, regardless of how much that employee makes in tips. Violations of these requirements can results in two or three times the amount of unpaid wages, as well as reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. See Acosta v. Café Misono Inc., No. 17-cv-11993 (D. Mass.).
Two sushi restaurants have agreed to pay over $460,000 in back wages and liquidated damages, and over $150,000 in additional civil penalties for minimum wage, overtime, and record keeping violations. The Department of Labor claimed that sushi chefs and other employees at the restaurants worked up to 90 hours a week but were not paid for all hours that they worked, were shorted overtime pay, and had pay deducted for taking short breaks. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay covered, nonexempt workers at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, and time and a half overtime wages for all hours worked over forty in a week. See http://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20160125-0