Florida Roofing Contractor Pays $265K in Back Wages After Federal Investigation
THONOTOSASSA, Fla. — Orion Builders Service Inc. of Thonotosassa, Fla. has paid $265,001 in back wages to 67 employees as the result of a U.S. Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation.
According to a press release, the investigation found the employer violated overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employer also paid $17,753 in civil money penalties for repeat violations.
WHD investigators reportedly found the roofing contracting company paid employees a piece rate without regard to the number of hours they actually worked.
The practice resulted in violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, but the employer failed to pay them overtime in addition to their piece rates. WHD also cited recordkeeping violations when the employer failed to maintain daily and weekly records of the number of hours employees worked.
Orion Builders Service is the third roofing contractor in recent months to be ordered to pay back wages. In March, Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based Monarch Co. was ordered to pay more than $156,000 in back wages. And in January, Maldonado Roofing LLC of Tuscaloosa, Ala. Was ordered to pay more than $57,000.
"Employers are obligated to pay their employees the wages they have legally earned," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Daniel White, in Jacksonville. "Even if employees are paid piece rates, or on salaries, they could be due overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a week. The outcome of this investigation is a good reminder to review pay practices to ensure employees are being paid as the law requires."
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.”
WHD said it provides a wide variety of compliance assistance tools to help employers understand their responsibilities and employees understand their rights.
More information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division can be obtained by calling the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.
WHD says employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program.