Broken Arrow Business Reaches Overtime Pay Violation Agreement With Feds

Monday, February 25th 2013, 2:03 pm
By: News On 6

A Broken Arrow business has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division concerning overtime back wages to current and former workers following an investigation.

In a news release, DOL says From the Heart Enterprises Inc., doing business as FTH Wholesale at 2374 West New Orleans has agreed to pay $55,965 in overtime back wages to 60 current and former jewelry makers.

The investigation stemmed from violations of the overtime and record keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The release states the Department of Labor determined From the Heart Enterprises paid employees only a fixed piece rate per item for assembling jewelry at home, outside of their normal working hours, without regard to the number of hours they worked. This resulted in overtime violations when employees were not paid an overtime premium of one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a work week.

It goes on to say, FTH Wholesale also failed to include employees' bonuses in their regular rates of pay when calculating overtime payment and failed to maintain payroll records, as required by the FLSA.

"Paying an employee on a piece rate does not absolve an employer of their responsibility to pay overtime," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. "In this case, vulnerable, low-wage employees worked outside of their normal work schedules assembling jewelry at home. The employer failed to count these hours when determining if an employee was due overtime. It doesn't matter if work is performed on-site or at home, or if employees are paid by the hour or by the piece—overtime is due after 40 hours. The department is committed to ensuring that employees receive the pay they have rightfully earned."

The Department of Labor says the company has agreed to comply with the FLSA in the future.