Friday, April 15, 2011

DOL Investigations Uncover Overtime and Recordkeeping Violations

Levi Strauss & Co. and Arizona Pipeline Co. have agreed to pay a combined total of over $1.7 million in back wages to employees nationwide following two separate Department of Labor (DOL) investigations that uncovered overtime and recordkeeping violations.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for workers employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees. Employees must generally meet certain tests to qualify for the exemption.

Levi Strauss. In this investigation, the DOL determined that Levi Strauss misclassified several groups of workers, including assistant store managers of newly acquired stores, as exempt from overtime. In addition, the company failed to record all hours that employees worked into its payroll system. For example, misclassified assistant store managers, who were required to work off-the-clock during late night closings, early morning openings, and staffing shortages, were not paid for this time. Levi Strauss also misclassified various administrative employees working at the company's headquarters as exempt from the FLSA, and these employees were owed overtime pay.

Levi Strauss has agreed to pay $1,011,413 in overtime back wages to 596 employees nationwide and has committed to upgrade its time and attendance system, as well as to maintain future compliance with the law [DOL News Release, 3/29/11].

Arizona Pipeline Co. In this investigation, the DOL determined that Arizona Pipeline Co. did not pay employees for pre-shift and post-shift time required for loading and unloading material, cleaning trucks, or picking up equipment. Additionally, workers were not compensated for travel time from the company yard to job sites and back, and were required to attend a one-hour monthly meeting that was unpaid. The company also docked a half-hour lunch time from employees' pay, even though they typically had a 15-minute lunch period, or worked through their lunch periods.

The FLSA requires covered employees to be paid for attending required meetings, and for pre-shift and post-shift job duties.

Arizona Pipeline Co. has agreed to pay $750,000 in back wages to 740 employees [DOL News Release, 3/30/11].

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