Paying all Workers only fixed salaries leads to $424k back wage settlement

An Orlando based plastic recycling company agreed to pay $424,000 in back wages to almost 200 employees after a Department of Labor investigation alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The investigation revealed that Ravago Americas LLC failed to pay overtime to employees and failed to record and track employee work time.  The investigation was performed by the Wage and Hour Division, Jacksonville District Office.

The employer paid workers fixed salaries, based upon a 40 hour workweek, without regard to how many hours they actually worked. When employees performed work before their shifts, after their shifts, during their meal breaks, and/or at home, those hours were neither recorded nor paid for. This practice created an overtime violation when the unpaid time pushed workers’ totals beyond 40 hours in a workweek, and no overtime premium was paid. The company also failed to maintain required time and payroll records.  After the investigation, the company agreed to: (1) pay $424,537 in back wages to 195 employees and comply with the FLSA in the future; (2) install an accurate time-keeping system to capture daily start and end times of employees; (3) include an accurate record of hours worked on pay stubs for all nonexempt personnel; (4) perform enterprise-wide training with all managers and employees on proper clock in/out procedures on installed time-keeping system, employee rights regarding compensable and non-compensable time; and (5) the proper procedures to correct inaccurate payroll caused by a time-keeping error.

Simply paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not entitled to overtime.  Other businesses, who may be paying in the same manner, should take note.  Also, it is important to remember that the DOL Salary rule change takes effect on December 1, 2016. An employee is exempt from both minimum wage and overtime pay requirements when they are employed in bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions, as well as certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $913 per week (updated by Final Rule) as of Dec. 1, 2016.

Consultstu LLC provides fractional HR services to small/mid businesses to lower operational costs, improve business processes and comply with workplace regulations.  We deliver customized HR solutions that provide protection from expensive mistakes and strategies to improve workplace results. Call us at 727-350-0370 or visit http://www.consultstu.com

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