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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [07/16/2012]
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd or Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x4709
Release Number: 12-1213-DAL

Crowley, Texas-based Powerhouse Retail Services pays more than $60,000 in back wages to 171 employees following US Labor Department investigation

CROWLEY, Texas — Powerhouse Retail Services LLC in Crowley has paid $60,448 in minimum and overtime back wages to 171 current and former construction workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping provisions.

"The construction industry employs some of our nation's most vulnerable workers," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the division in the Southwest. "Employees worked as many as 58 hours in a week without receiving overtime pay. This practice is illegal and unacceptable."

The investigation, conducted by the division's Dallas District Office, found that the company wrongly had classified employees as exempt from overtime when, in fact, they were due overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a week. Additionally, employees were paid flat salaries that did not amount to at least the minimum wage for all hours worked. Finally, the company did not keep accurate payroll records.

Powerhouse Retail Services provides specialized construction services to major U.S. businesses including Albertsons, J.C. Penney Co., Sherwin-Williams Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company has agreed to fully comply with the FLSA in the future.

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, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In general, "hours worked" includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer's premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.

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 its Dallas office at 817-861-2150. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.