MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — A South Carolina roofing contractor has been ordered to pay more than $156,000 in back wages to 84 employees for violating overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to a press release, the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) conducted an investigation of Monarch Co., which is based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and operating as Monarch Roofing.
WHD said its investigators determined the employer incorrectly classified 81 salaried employees as exempt from overtime, paying them flat salaries without regard to the number of hours they actually worked.
This practice resulted in overtime violations when the employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, but were not paid overtime. WHD said Monarch Co. also failed to pay three hourly employees additional half-time when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, as required.
Further, investigators also found the commercial and residential roofing company failed to include employees' non-discretionary bonuses when they did calculate and pay overtime. Excluding these amounts resulted in the employer paying overtime at rates lower than those required by law.
The firm also failed to keep time records for the salaried workers, resulting in recordkeeping violations under the FLSA.
"Employers must familiarize themselves with their obligations to ensure they pay workers the wages they have legally earned," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel, in Columbia, S.C.
"The U.S. Dept. of Labor encourages employers to contact us if they have questions about overtime compliance for their hourly and salaried employees,” Benefiel added. “We offer a wide variety of compliance assistance tools and stand ready to help employers. Violations like these can be avoided."
A Thumbtack profile of Monarch Roofing indicates the company was founded in 2008 by Martin Pettigrew.
Pettigrew did not return a phone message left by Roofing Contractor.
However, WMBF-TV, a local NBC-TV affiliate, reported that Monarch released a statement on the situation.
"The Dept. of Labor report is accurate when reporting that we unknowingly violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, no penalties or fines were filed, just the promise to pay back wages. This by no means is a lawsuit. In the investigation we presented our payroll structure that we believed to include overtime, but the Dept. of Labor disagreed. The DOL reclassified our employees resulting in the back wages. We have since adapted the recommendations of the DOL to be compliant. At Monarch Roofing we are committed to having a great employment culture and playing a large role as a steward to our community."
In February, Houston-based attorney and Roofing Contractor contributor Richard Alaniz wrote a column called “Are Your Salaried Employees at Your Roofing Company Truly Exempt?”
When it comes to which employees are exempt from overtime, Alaniz suggests evaluating all employees, especially as changes to overtime laws are reportedly being mulled.
“There are individuals in every workplace in the United States who are paid a salary and considered exempt from pay for overtime after 40 hours in a work week,” Alaniz wrote. “While the issue of whether employees are properly classified as exempt is always an issue that could potentially arise, exempt status is more likely to be called into question if and when the U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL) goes forward with a proposed increase in the salary amount required to qualify as exempt. It’s been reported that such a proposed rule could be issued early this year. Therefore, now might be a good time to discuss some of the issues likely to arise if the salary amount is changed.”