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.
I know that the District of Columbia ’s Worker’s Compensation Notice protects both employees and employers in the case of on-the-job accidents. Of course, there are many rules governing both parties when dealing with compensation claims.
Under the law, I understand that employees have rights, but that they also need to follow certain procedures:
An employee must report a work-related injury or sickness promptly to their employer and to the Office of Workers’ Compensation. They must fill out a form and send it to both parties promptly.
Employees are entitled to the services of a physician or hospital of their choice and to lost wages.
The employee can’t collect under the law and then sue their employer for compensation.
In order to collect benefits, the employee must file a written claim within one year after the injury, or within one year after the last payment of benefits.
The law gives the employee the right to attorney representation, if they desire.
I know that employers must also submit forms and follow regulations:
Employers are required to have Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage if they employ more than one person.
Employers are required to display a compliance poster at each worksite.
In case of a claim, the employer must submit a report with the Office of Workers’ Compensation, and a copy to their insurance company. This must be done as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days after an employer is informed of an accident.
An employer must provide employees with all forms needed to complete a claim. Once the employer has received notice from the employee, they must send the employee a notice of his/her rights and obligations by certified mail.
The employer must furnish reasonable medical and hospital services, other remedial care or vocational rehabilitation, and various types of disability compensation, to an injured or disabled employee.
The District of Columbia Complete Labor Law poster reflects both the State and Federal laws on one convenient poster. This one posting will assist employer’s to become compliant per the worker’s compensation laws.
I know that the District of Columbia pays benefits to workers who are unemployed
through no fault of their own, and who are ready, willing, and able to work.The program is administered by the Department of Employment Services (DOES) and financed by taxes paid by employers doing business in the District. No deductions are taken from workers’ paychecks.
To be eligible for benefits, I understand that employees must meet certain wage requirements, and must be totally or partially unemployed through no fault of their own. Once they apply for benefits, workers must actively seek work, and be available for and physically able to do the work.
I have read that benefits are paid weekly to the employee for a year, based on the amount a worker earned before being unemployed. Unemployment benefits are subject to Federal and State income taxes and must be reported on your income tax returns.
There are some cases where workers are not eligible to receive compensation.
When a worker
1. voluntarily leaves a 30-day employer without good cause
2. is discharged for misconduct or gross misconduct
3. participates in a labor dispute other than a lockout;
4. refuses a suitable offer to work without good cause;
5. does not follow reporting instructions or is not available to work
6. is an illegal resident of the US
The details of the unemployment compensation laws are reflected on the District of Columbia state labor law poster as well as the District of Columbia Complete Labor Law poster. The Complete poster also reflects the federal labor laws.