Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
BRISTOL, Va. -- Sprint has paid $259,429 in back wages to 1,013 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that the company’s Bristol call center was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The company also paid a fine of $120,000 due to its history of violations.
An investigation conducted by the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Sprint did not pay its customer care specialists for all hours worked, resulting in overtime violations. The company also failed to maintain required records.
“Sprint violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act when the customer care specialists were not paid for work completed prior to the beginning of their shifts,” said John DuMont, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s district office in Pittsburgh, Pa. “The employees were found to have worked an average of nine unpaid minutes at the beginning of each shift.”
The FLSA requires covered, nonexempt employees to be paid the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. To calculate overtime, employers must count the earnings from all rates of pay and add them together. This total is then divided by the total number of hours worked at all jobs. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records. A workweek includes all time during which an employee is necessarily required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty or at a prescribed workplace. “Workday,” in general, means the period between the time on any particular day when such employee commences his/her “principal activity” and the time on that day at which he/she ceases such principal activity or activities. The workday may therefore be longer than the employee’s scheduled shift, hours, tour of duty or production line time.
The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain job duty and salary tests. Information about the current exemption can be found on the Internet at www.dol.gov/fairpay.
Effective July 24, 2008, the federal minimum wage for covered, nonexempt employees was increased to $6.55 per hour and will increase to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. For more information about the FLSA, call the Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov.
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