Although the District of Columbia is technically not a state, like many states, including Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia, the District of Columbia’s minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage. Unlike those states, however, the minimum wage law in D. C doesn’t merely equal the federal minimum wage, but exceeds it by $1 per hour.
An aerospace defense contractor based in Broomfield, Colorado was ordered to pay almost $1 million in back wages to 904 employees in four states plus the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Department of Labor charges that Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Inc. failed to pay $976,327 in overtime to employees in Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Georgia and Washington D.C.
According to sources, an investigation showed that once senior technicians reached the maximum hourly rate, they were arbitrarily and unlawfully changed to salaried-exempt status. The change in pay rate did not include a significant increase in responsibilities. Under federal law, in order to be exempt from overtime pay, employees must have decision-making powers, significant administrative duties or they must supervise three or more people. None of those conditions were met for the 111 technicians in question, so they are due $383, 235 in unpaid overtime.
In addition, all employees were routinely required to work through their lunch periods without any pay. Even if they were not able to take a lunch break, an hour was deducted from their time cards every work day. This violation resulted in payments of $593,092 to 793 employees.
Ball agreed to keep more accurate payroll records in the future, in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, and to pay all required wages to employees in the future.
In late July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced Desert Plastering, Inc., a Las Vegas Nevada firm, to pay nearly $1.2 million in back pay to 1060 employees. The feds found that Desert Plastering had not paid required overtime to lathers, finishers, plasterers and estimators who worked up to 58 hours per week.
In early July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced 107 subcontractors of KBR, Inc. of Virginia to pay some $1.5 million in back wages and benefits for up to 2,600 workers who participated in the Hurricane Katrina recovery project. The construction workers were involved in repairs to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport Mississippi or the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Labor is still searching for some of the workers involved in that case. Anyone who believes that they are owed back wages for these projects can contact the nearest U.S. Department of Labor office. The average payment per worker in that case was $616.
Earlier this year, under a voluntary agreement to prevent a federal suit, Wal-Mart, Inc. agreed to pay $33 million in unpaid overtime wages to 86,680 employees throughout the nation. An internal audit revealed that the company had incorrectly classified some employees as “salary-exempt” when in fact they were entitled to overtime pay. In other cases, the company admitted that it had based overtime pay on the employee’s base hourly rate, not including incentives and bonuses in the employee’s average rate as required by law.
The Fair Labor Standard Act requires that most U.S. employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $5.85 per hour. The FLSA also mandates that employees must be paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for each hour over 40 in a single work week.
Many employers mistakenly believe that any worker paid by salary is exempt from overtime. The FLSA does provide a number of exemptions to the overtime law for bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales jobs. In general, employees must meet job duty and salary tests, to be exempt from overtime.
The U. S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division collected more than $171 in back wages for some 246,000 employees in 2006. Thos wages were a result of 31,987 “compliance actions” in 2006.
The District of Columbia technically isn’t a state. I just read their license plate on the back of a car the other day. It said “Taxation without representation,” meaning they don’t have a congressional representative, they aren’t considered a true state, and yet residents of Washington, D.C., have to follow the rules of the land.
And one of these rules is, of course, overtime law. Here is where District of Columbians actually do have a little more control over their lives, despite their non-state status. As with the 50 states in the Union, Washington, D.C., has the opportunity to define its own overtime rules, or they can just follow the basic federal guidelines. But unlike many states, the District of Columbia took the initiative and crafted its own laws on the subject, which makes it an interesting topic for us.
The standard basic rules apply in Washington, D.C., overtime laws that are in the federal and state laws. They are, and we’re probably pretty familiar with them now after looking at other states, that any employer that makes an employee work more than 40 hours per work week then owes that employee time and a half pay for any amount of time over those 40 hours.
The Washington, D.C., law gets interesting for us, though, with the exceptions that follow that standard rule. Those exceptions mean that certain types of workers are not entitled to overtime pay.
Some of these exceptions include people in executive, administrative, or professional positions—more of your white-collar type of jobs. Also included are casual babysitters, such as your neighborhood teenage girl who watches the kids while you’re at the movies.
Volunteers at charities, seamen, parking garage attendants, railroad workers, and newspaper delivery people are also exempt. Someone who sells or works on automobiles, trucks, or trailers is also left out, as are people who primarily make a living washing cars.
The District of Columbia Labor Law poster refelcts the overtime laws alongside all the ederal labor laws for you to review.