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Department of Labor 68 articles

Solis works to revamp and empower Wage and Hour Division

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, under which the Fair Labor Standards Act came into existence in 1938 as part of a nationwide effort to protect working class citizens from corporate exploitation and abuse, may be on the mend after an long era of being little more than a bureaucratic entity. In March, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced her intentions to revamp and empower the Wage and Hour Division, saying that she would increase the Division’s staff size by a third in an effort to “refocus the agency on [its] enforcement responsibilities.” The addition of new field investigators, ... Read More

California maid company fined for ignoring 2007 ruling

Violating the rules of employment set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act can be an expensive way to do business. In August of 2007, a federal judge in the U.S. Central District Court for California in Santa Ana ordered Southern California Maid Services Inc. to pay nearly $3.5 million in back wages and another $1 million in liquidated damages to 385 of its employees. The court ruled that by improperly classifying their workers as independent contractors, Sergio Maldonado and Lorenza Rubio, the company owners, avoided paying minimum wage and overtime, which the FLSA requires. Then, last week, after finding ... Read More

Department of Labor fails to uphold and enforce FLSA regulations

If you’re a wage worker and your employer is violating the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by paying you less than minimum wage, denying you overtime, or misclassifying you as a manager or independent contractor, don’t go running to the Department of Labor (DOL) for help anytime soon. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is incompetent. What’s worse, the latest report, released on March 29, represents the third time in less than a year that the GAO has found the Wage and Hour Division’s performance a failure when it came to enforcing ... Read More

class action filed against Alabama company for FLSA overtime violations

A lawsuit filed by employees against Buffalo Rock Co. of Birmingham, Alabama has been certified as a class action lawsuit, according to a report in the Birmingham News. Workers filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Birmingham in 2007, alleging the company’s failure to compensate some of its sales and delivery employees for overtime work. Buffalo Rock is one of the country’s largest privately owned Pepsi-Cola bottlers with 14 distribution centers in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Its distribution area covers a population of 6.5 million. Employees represented by the suit contend that Buffalo Rock violated the Fair Labor ... Read More

Missouri restaurant pays back wages and penalties for FLSA violations

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has cited a Missouri restaurant with numerous violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a report in the Bolivar Herald-Free Press. Smith’s restaurant in Bolivar will pay more than $36,000 in fines and back wages stemming from its violations of the FLSA’s overtime, minimum wage, and child labor regulations. $34,625 of the money recovered by the Wage and Hour Division will compensate 54 employees for back wages. Investigators found the restaurant had violated minimum wage laws by skimming money from the servers’ hourly pay to compensate bus staff. The ... Read More

Woman crusades against epidemic of wage theft

Kim Bobo believes that employers in the United States are stealing from their workers. Not just nickels and dimes and not just in isolated incidents. She claims that the theft is rampant — that it has become a “national crisis at this moment in our nation” to the tune of $19 billion per year in unpaid overtime alone. Bobo is the founder and executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, an organization that appeals to the shared convictions of all religions in protecting the rights of the everyday worker, especially low-wage workers. Bobo alleges that in meat processing plants, retail businesses, ... Read More

Grocery chain cited for multiple child labor violations

The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Hy-Vee, Inc., a Des Moines, Iowa-based grocery chain, with multiple violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including a number of child labor violations in four of the company’s Nebraska stores. Federal investigators found 37 violations of laws restricting working hours for school age children under 18 years old. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits workers under age 18 from working more than three hours on school days, including Fridays, and eight hours on days with no school. Children ages 14 and 15 are not permitted to work past 7 p.m. on school ... Read More

Federal Appeals Court renders important decision against Family Dollar in FLSA case

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a $35.6 million judgment against Family Dollar Stores Inc. originally handed down by a Tuscaloosa, Ala., federal jury in 2006. The jury said the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by wrongly classifying employees as store managers in order to deny them overtime pay. The 1,424 employees were regularly required to work more than 60 hours a week, and to perform duties not usually associated with store management such as mopping floors, unloading trucks, stocking shelves and running cash registers. The jury awarded $17.8 million in back overtime pay and an ... Read More