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Friday, July 6, 2012

Wage Hour investigations finds multiple violations in Alabama


By: Tommy Eden
Alabama@Work

In Montgomery, Alabama, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (DOL) found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions at the Raceway 700 gas station on Mobile Highway. Jaymahesh LLC, doing business as Raceway 700, has agreed to pay six cashiers $13,618 in back wages plus an equal amount in liquidated damages totaling $27,236.

An investigation found that the Raceway 700 had made a verbal agreement with nonexempt hourly employees that violated the FLSA because it did not require the payment of overtime wages when the employees worked more than 40 hours per week. They had also made deductions during some workweeks from employees' pay to make up for register shortages, which caused employees’ pay to fall below the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In addition, the employer failed to maintain accurate records of employees' hourly rates and wages paid.

In Winfield, Alabama, the DOL recovered $62,836 in back wages and benefits for 31 truck drivers employed by Winfield-based R.L. Box Inc. following an investigation that found violations of the prevailing wage rate and fringe benefit requirements of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act as well as the record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Act requires that contractors and subcontractors performing services on covered federal contracts in excess of $2,500 must pay their service workers no less than the wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality, or rates contained in a preceding contractor’s collective bargaining agreement.

In lieu of providing the actual fringe benefits, R.L. Box had wrongly elected to pay for those benefits as part of employees’ hourly rates. Investigators also determined that R.L. Box had failed to count all hours worked and pay the required prevailing wage rate, because most drivers were not paid for pre-trip inspections of their vehicles or the training time required to learn mail routes. Holiday pay was not properly provided to drivers until they had worked with the contractor for at least a year, the health and welfare rate was not paid on holiday hours for part-time or intermittent workers and vacation pay was not provided to part-time or intermittent workers.

Common Sense Counsel: Wage Hour compliance is one of the most difficult and costly problems for employers. Have your Wage Hour Audit done on these issues before a government compliance investigator knocks:

• classification of exempt, nonexempt, and independent contract workers;

• commissions, bonuses, incentive payments, and other compensation programs;

• federal contractor compliance;

• overtime pay calculations;

• family and medical leave; and

• recordkeeping requirements.

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Capell & Howard, P.C., a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at tme@chlaw.com or 334-501-1540 or www.AlabamaAtWork.com. Alabama Immigration updates at www.ImmigrationAlabamaLaw.com.