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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [03/13/2012]
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd or Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x4709
Release Number: 12-0322-DAL

US Labor Department recovers more than $170,000 in overtime back wages for 314 painters and sandblasters in Port Arthur, Texas

Investigation revealed alteration of time records, failure to pay for hours worked

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Performance Blasting and Coating L.P. of Port Arthur, doing business as PBC, has paid $170,622 to 314 current and former painters and sandblasters 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 and record-keeping provisions.

The division's Houston District Office found that the employer paid workers "straight time" for all hours worked rather than a required time and one-half rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, and failed to pay employees for time spent traveling in a company vehicle on their way to and from work locations. Additionally, the company failed to keep accurate time and payroll records. The investigation disclosed that in some cases, hours were removed from employees' timecards after they were submitted.

"Vulnerable employees worked as many as 68 hours in a workweek without overtime compensation," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. "This practice is illegal and unacceptable. 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 the law."

Performance Blasting and Coating, which specializes in painting industrial and marine equipment, has agreed to comply fully with the FLSA in the future. The back wages owed have been paid in full.

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. 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 Houston office at 713-339-5500. Information also is available online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.