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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [06/08/2011]
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd or Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x4709
Release Number: 11-0837-DAL

US Labor Department sues Texas state agency for failing to pay 800 workers for overtime hours amounting to more than $1 million in back wages

AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Department of Labor today filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' Child Protective Services Division in Austin for failing to pay 800 current and former investigators and case workers overtime compensation as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The suit seeks back wages of more than $1 million, plus liquidated damages.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. After an in-depth investigation into CPS' practices statewide, the department's Wage and Hour Division determined that the employees were working "off the clock" rather than compensated for all hours worked. Additionally, supervisors were instructing employees not to record all of their hours worked. Further, required record keeping was not maintained.

"Civil servants entrusted with the important job of protecting Texas' children were forced to relinquish their wage protections," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The Labor Department's job is to protect workers from such violations of the law, and we are taking the necessary actions to ensure these employees are properly paid."

The investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's San Antonio office, covering the three-year period from June 2008 to the present, found that CPS willfully violated the FLSA by failing to pay employees for all hours worked over 40 in a week.

In 2000, the Labor Department filed a similar lawsuit against another Texas state agency. After extensive litigation, the state ultimately paid $2 million to settle that case.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 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. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or the division's San Antonio District Office at 210-308-4515. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.