$127,301 in Back Wages for Incorrectly Classifying Employees as Exempt From Overtime Pay

 
Thursday, March 20, 2014
 
Harmony Gardens Inc. has agreed to pay 72 employees $127,301 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions. The firm incorrectly claimed an exemption from the overtime provisions of the FLSA. The investigation, conducted by the division’s Denver District Office, found that Harmony Gardens violated the FLSA when it paid its workers straight time for all hours worked and did not pay the additional overtime premium for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Additionally, the company failed to maintain accurate time and payroll records.

Harmony Gardens works with suppliers nationwide to bring in a wide range of plant material for customers, which they do not grow themselves; therefore, the exemption from the overtime requirements does not apply. The employer has agreed to comply with all applicable FLSA provisions in the future. The payment of back wages is ongoing. 

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Workers who are not employed in agriculture and not otherwise exempt from overtime compensation are entitled to time and one-half their regular rates of pay for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
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