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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [12/01/2011]
Contact Name: Michael D’Aquino or Michael Wald
Phone Number: (404) 562-2076 or x2078
Release Number: 11-1623-ATL

Stanley Steemer franchises agree to comply with federal labor laws following US Department of Labor investigations in Georgia and Texas

3 locations agree to pay nearly $193,000 in back wages and penalties

ATLANTA — The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has identified significant violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and obtained remedies from Stanley Steemer franchises in Atlanta, Richmond Hill, Ga., and Houston, Texas. The owner of all three franchises, Gerald Quatela, has agreed to pay back wages of $175,039 to 174 employees. In addition, the Labor Department imposed penalties of $17,895 against the franchises for repeated violations of the FLSA.

"The Labor Department is committed to ensuring that all workers receive the pay to which they are entitled and reminds employers that they should periodically conduct self-audits of their payroll systems to ensure they remain in compliance with all federal labor laws," said Janet Campbell, director of the Wage and Hour Division's Atlanta District Office, which conducted the investigation.

Investigators found that commissioned employees had been incorrectly classified by the company as exempt from overtime pay. The FLSA provides an exemption from overtime for employees of retail and service establishments who are paid in commission, in whole or in part, when certain conditions are met. The employees found to be due back wages in this case held jobs that failed to meet all of the conditions and were therefore ineligible for this exemption. As a result of the error, 108 employees at two Georgia stores are due $118,045 and 66 employees in Houston are due $56,994. The employer cooperated with the investigation and has agreed to fully comply with the FLSA in the future. Payment of back wages is ongoing.

Quatela is based in Atlanta and is a franchisee of Stanley Steemer International Inc. in Dublin, Ohio.

The Wage and Hour Division's Atlanta District Office is looking for workers who were employed with Stanley Steemer in Atlanta, Richmond Hill and Houston from June 2009 to June 2011 and may be owed back wages. These workers are asked to call 404-893-4600.

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. The Wage and Hour Division's Fact Sheet No. 20, which provides general information about the requirements and proper application of the FLSA exemption referenced above, can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs20.htm.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal labor laws, call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Atlanta District Office at 404-893-4600. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.