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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ESA News Release: [04/07/2009]
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710
Release Number: 09-0154-NAT

U.S. Labor Department recovers more than $1.6 million in overtime back wages for 1,751 employees in 17 states from Houston-based IFCO Systems

Civil money penalties total $963,000

HOUSTON — IFCO Systems North America Inc., doing business as IFCO Systems, based in Houston has paid $1,602,267 in back wages to its employees after investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that 1,751 employees in 17 states had not been properly paid for the overtime hours that they worked as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Wage and Hour Division also fined the company $963,050 in civil money penalties.

"The Department of Labor is a voice for working families, and I am committed to ensuring that employers comply with federal labor laws so workers can have confidence they will receive the compensation they've earned and deserve," said Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis.

Wage and Hour Division investigators found that IFCO Systems, which manufactures and repairs reusable plastic containers and wooden pallets, did not pay its employees time and one-half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The company also did not maintain the records that they are required to keep under the law.

The investigations took place in the states of Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Back wages and civil money penalties have been paid in full, and the company has agreed to injunctive relief enjoining them from further violations of the FLSA.

A separate 2002 Wage and Hour Division investigation of the same company by the division's Atlanta, Ga., district office found violations of the FLSA resulting in $30,538 in overtime back wages paid to 67 employees.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $6.55 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The minimum wage will increase to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Under the law, employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Department of Labor's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or the Wage and Hour Division's District Office in Houston at 713-339-5500. Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov.

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