DOL Recovers $516K for 168 Workers Under FLSA
November 03, 2022
The U.S, Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has announced combined monetary recovery amounts of $516,926 in back pay and liquidated damages returned to 168 workers in New Hampshire, Hawaii, and California for their employers’ alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Miscalculated rates.Bedford Nursing & Rehab Services LLC of New Hampshire paid $86,008 to 74 workers after WHD investigators discovered alleged FLSA overtime violations. According to investigators, the independent skilled nursing and rehabilitation living facility for the elderly failed to pay full overtime wages by neglecting to factor shift differentials and non-discretionary bonuses in its calculations, leading to significant violations. The division also determined that the facility allowed three 15-year-old employees to work more hours than permitted by federal child labor law resulting in $2,202 in assessed civil money penalties.
Hazardous occupation.Kauai restaurant, Tahiti Nui Enterprises Inc., dba Tahiti Nui, allegedly failed to FLSA overtime rates resulting in $11,181 in back wages and liquidated damages owed to 18 employees. Investigators found that the restaurant also allowed eight minors, some as young as 15-years-old, to cook and bake in violation of federal laws that prohibit employers from assigning hazardous occupations to underage employees. The division assessed Tahiti Nui civil money penalties of $26,355 for its child labor violations and reckless disregard of the FLSA’s overtime requirements.
Denied overtime.The DOL has recovered $216,674 in unpaid overtime wages and liquidated damages for 31 employees from Martinez Pallets Inc. based on alleged FLSA violations at its Rio Linda and West Sacramento, California, locations. According to investigators, Martinez Pallets intentionally denied overtime pay to the workers when it paid some employees their first 40 hours through payroll checks but paid hours over 40 in a workweek at straight-time rates, in either separate checks or cash, intentionally denying them the legally required overtime premium pay. The division determined the company’s owner willfully attempted to evade the overtime provisions and allowed minor-aged employees to drive forklifts and operate power-driven woodworking machines illegally, both of which are considered hazardous occupations for minors. As a result, Martinez Pallets had to pay back wages and damages as well as $14,407 in civil penalties to resolve the child labor and willful overtime violations.
Illegally withholding tips.A federal court has ordered Luchador Tacos LLC to pay $148,128 in back wages and liquidated damages to 31 employees after a DOL investigation found that the New Hampshire employer kept workers’ tips illegally and failed to pay them overtime wages in violation of the FLSA. According to WHD investigators, Luchador Tacos and its two owners violated the FLSA between February 2020 and February 2022 when they kept employees’ credit card tips; paid at least one employee straight-time wages for overtime hours worked; failed to pay some employees one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for hours over 40 in a workweek; and calculated tipped employees’ overtime rates improperly, basing their rates on their cash wages as opposed to their regular rates of pay.