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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [03/27/2012]
Contact Name: Michael D'Aquino or Michael Wald
Phone Number: (404) 562-2076 or x2078
Release Number: 12-0302-ATL

Gulf Coast oil spill contractor to pay more than $191,000 in back wages after US Department of Labor investigation identifies labor violations

MOBILE, Ala. — Marine Contracting Group LLC has agreed to pay $191,182 in back wages to 184 employees after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found violations of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Mobile-based labor contracting company provides temporary and permanent employees for the shipbuilding industry; in this case, the employees were hired to assist with cleanup efforts after the BP Gulf oil spill.

The division's Gulf Coast District Office found that the employer paid only for employees' scheduled hours, and failed to keep a record of or to pay employees for time spent on work-related tasks before the beginning and after the end of their scheduled work shifts. As a result, employees were not compensated at a rate of at least one and one-half times their regular rates when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. The unpaid hours included time spent attending safety meetings, obtaining work and vehicle assignments, having personal protective equipment inspected and traveling from the company's home base to a work site.

"Employers are being put on notice that the Wage and Hour Division is actively engaged in educating companies and advising workers about their right under federal labor laws to be paid for all hours worked," said Ken Stripling, director of the division's Gulf Coast office, which is located in Birmingham. "Employees' hours must be tracked and recorded accurately, with payment made for all hours worked. Other employers should use this opportunity to ensure that their record-keeping practices are accurate, and they are paying their employees in compliance with such laws."

In addition to paying back wages, the company has agreed to keep accurate time and payroll records, to pay workers at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and to pay proper overtime compensation when employees work more than 40 hours in a week.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked over 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.

Accessible and searchable information on enforcement activities by the Department of Labor is available at http://ogesdw.dol.gov/search. For more information on the FLSA and other federal laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.