Employer: Bonifacio Ontiveros, doing business as Benny’s Tire and Road Service
Site: 31514 Castaic Road, Castaic, California 91384
Investigation findings: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Benny’s Tire and Road Service violated the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, the employer paid workers a flat weekly salary without regard to the number of hours they actually worked. For three of these employees, this salary, when divided by the hours they worked, was not enough to cover the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour. The firm also failed to pay legally-required overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week. Employees routinely worked well over 50 hours per week. This is the second time the company has been investigated. Identical violations were found in 2006, resulting in the employer paying $23,843 back to workers.
Resolution: Bonifacio Ontiveros will pay $59, 029 in back wages and an additional, equal amount in liquidated damages totaling $118,058 to 11 workers. The Wage and Hour Division has also assessed $4,235 in penalties due to the repeat nature of the violations.
Quote: “The Wage and Hour Division will not tolerate egregious violations such as those found in this case. Paying these hard-working employees less than the minimum wage, and denying them their legally-required overtime pay hurts not only the workers and their families, but provides the employer an unfair competitive edge,” said Kimchi Bui, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Los Angeles District Office. “Other employers should take note of this investigation, and ensure that they are in compliance with the law. Other employees being paid in this manner should give us a call. Our services are free, and confidential.”
Information: Simply paying employees a salary does not mean they are not entitled to minimum wage and overtime. The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for individuals employed in bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions, as well as certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. On June 30, 2015, the Wage and Hour Division announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update the regulations defining which white collar workers are eligible to receive pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/NPRM2015.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay for hours they work beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records, and are prohibited from retaliating against workers who exercise their rights under the law. For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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