DOL Recovers Nearly $1M for 200 Workers Under the FLSA
November 16, 2022
The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has separately announced recovery totaling $960,454 in back pay and liquidated damages for 200 workers in New Hampshire, Oregon, Florida, and Idaho due to their employers’ alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The alleged violations related to travel time, tips and overtime, pay for all hours worked, and overtime calculations.
Travel time.WHD investigators have recovered $374,640 in back wages and liquidated damages from D+S Elder Services for 46 New Hampshire healthcare workers allegedly denied overtime. According to the agency, the employer violated the FLSA when it paid employees straight-time wages for hours over 40 in a workweek, failing to pay overtime compensation as required. The employer also did not pay employees for time spent traveling between worksites or track that time as hours worked.
Tips and overtime.Bonsai Teriyaki of Medford, Oregon, withheld tips and overtime pay in violation of the FLSA resulting in $375,233 in recovered back wages and liquidated damages for 11 restaurant workers, according to the WHD. An investigation into Bonsai Teriyaki, dba Bonsai Teriyaki and Sushi, revealed that the employer collected and withheld cash and credit card tips earned by seven servers and warned them they’d be fired if they failed to surrender cash tips. The employer also illegally denied four cooks and sushi chefs their overtime wages due to misapplying overtime rules for salaried, exempt workers. The WHD also assessed $5,091 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of the violations.
Pay for all hours worked.A Florida security service provider, Godly Security Agency LLC, owes $22,341 in back wages for 28 workers following a WHD investigation into alleged FLSA violations. According to investigators, the employer failed to compensate some employees for all hours worked. By doing so, the employer allowed the hourly rate of some employees to fall below the federal minimum wage and failed to pay some workers overtime rates when they exceeded 40 hours in a workweek in violation of the Act.
Kickbacks.A federal district court in New Hampshire has entered a consent preliminary injunction to prevent Your Comfort Zone Inc. and its president from coercing employees to “kick back” wages recovered for them by the DOL under the FLSA. According to the WHD, this action is the latest involving Your Comfort Zone and its president. After two federal investigations in 2018 found they failed to pay 25 workers overtime wages when required, in violation of the FLSA, the company and its president agreed to pay $100,055 in back wages to the affected workers. On October 14, 2022, the DOL filed a complaint alleging the employer later coerced some employees into returning the wages the investigation recovered.
The DOL also alleges the healthcare business and its president interfered with a current investigation in their pay practices by asking employees about their contact with investigators, telling at least one employee they did not need to speak with investigators, altering at least one timesheet, and submitting that false information to investigators. The court’s order now enjoins further retaliation or interference so the investigation may proceed.
Overtime calculations.A federal investigation has recovered $88,185 in back wages and liquidated damages for 90 caregivers in Idaho after their employer, Allegiant SL LLC, dba Allegiant Supported Living in Nampa, engaged in pay practices that the purportedly violate the FLSA. The employer, a service provider for people with developmental disabilities, paid some caregivers straight-time rates for hours over 40 in a workweek, a violation of the Act. The employer also failed to include non-discretionary bonuses in overtime calculations for some workers and failed to maintain accurate records as required by law. In addition to the monetary relief, the division assessed $11,984 in civil money penalties due to the willful nature of Allegiant’s violations.