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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [03/21/2012]
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd or Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x4709
Release Number: 11-1665-DAL

Arizona-based meat processing company pays nearly $164,000 in overtime back wages to workers in Oklahoma following US Labor Department investigation

More than 1,200 employees at Altus, Clinton, Elk City and Lawton facilities affected

OKLAHOMA CITY — Bar-S Foods Inc. has paid $163, 996 in overtime back wages to 1,209 current and former meat processors, packers, and quality control and factory 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 overtime provisions.

Bar-S Foods paid qualifying employees an annual production bonus, but failed to include the net effect of that bonus on employees' overall hourly rates when computing overtime. Investigators from the division's Oklahoma City District Office interviewed employees and reviewed payroll records, determining that $50,663 was owed to 536 employees in Altus, a combined total of $60,477 was owed to 423 employees in Clinton and Elk City, and $52,856 was owed to 250 employees in Lawton.

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. An employer is not required by law to provide a bonus, but if a nondiscretionary bonus is paid, the bonus must be included as part of the employee's regular hourly rate for purposes of computing overtime.

"The Labor Department is committed to ensuring that all workers receive the pay to which they are entitled and reminds employers to periodically conduct self-audits of payroll systems to ensure they remain in compliance with all federal labor laws," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator of the division in the Southwest. "The Labor Department will hold employers accountable when they do not properly pay their workers. This case should serve as notice to other employers to ensure that they are paying their employees properly."

Phoenix, Ariz.-based Bar-S Foods produces, markets and distributes processed meat products throughout the United States. The back wages owed have been paid in full.

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 Oklahoma City office at 405-231-4158. Information also is available online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.