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Wage and Hour Division 9 articles

Fair Labor Standards Act: Whistleblowing and Retaliation – FLSA anti-retaliation provisions

The Fraud List: Fair Labor Edition

This is the fifth installment in The Fraud List: Fair Labor Series Nobody likes a tattletale, but when laws are being broken by one’s employer, it becomes the responsibility of the employee to “blow the whistle” to upper management. This responsibility can seem like more of a burden to some workers fearing their job will be affected by whistleblowing. Fortunately, thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), any employee that experiences discrimination or retaliation due to their brave actions is protected by the anti-retaliation provisions of the FLSA. According to the FLSA, it is a direct violation for any ... Read More

New Orleans is ‘Ground Zero’ of national wage theft epidemic

Hurricane Katrina, a powerful storm surge, and a system of inadequate levies teamed up in 2005 to create an unprecedented level of disaster in the United States. In the wake that followed, New Orleans (along with many other coastal communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama) resembled a sea of destruction. New Orleans relied heavily on day laborers to clean up, repair, and rebuild. Sadly, however, recent surveys found that 80% of the Hispanic workers had been cheated out of compensation. The rampant injustice plaguing manual laborers compelled New Orleans City Council President Arnie Fielkow to promote an ordinance that would ... Read More

Nashville workers settle FLSA complaint against employer

A Nashville car wash company has reached a settlement with three employees who claim they weren’t paid for several hours of work. The minimum-wage employees sued Shur-Brite Hi Speed Car Wash, alleging the company’s owners clocked them in and out throughout the day, depending on how busy their work shifts were. The agreed settlement for $130,000 will be distributed among 120 employees, who, like the plaintiffs, weren’t being paid for hours spent on the job. According to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, compensable hours include all the time that an employee is required to be on the ... Read More

Teddy bear company cited for FLSA child labor violations

Build-A-Bear-Workshop Inc. is listed on Fortune’s 2009 list of the “100 Best Companies to Work for,” but the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division disagrees — at least where the company’s youngest employees are concerned. The government agency cited the St. Louis-based company for violations of child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and ordered it to pay $25,600 in civil penalties. Build-A-Bear Workshop, an international retailer with more than 400 locations worldwide, allows customers to design and create their own teddy bears. The Wage and Hour Division found that many Build-A-Bear’s Midwestern retail locations violated ... Read More

Teenager’s death leads to multiple FLSA and OSHA fines for Georgia company

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and hour Division has ordered a Suwanee, Georgia-based demolition company to pay a steep penalty for violating child labor laws after a teenage employee died on the work site. The teenager, an employee of Demon Demo Inc., was working on a demolition site at Macy’s in the Gwinnett Place Mall when he fell from the third story of the building. The boy had been tossing debris off the building when he fell. The fine was the first one issued by the Wage and Hour Division under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 – ... Read More

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

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