Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Baton Rouge-based Mattress Direct Inc., doing business as Mattress Direct of New Orleans, has agreed to pay $40,253 in minimum and overtime back wages to 96 current and former sales employees following investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions. Affected employees worked at 21 locations in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
“Inside sales work is not exempted from the minimum and overtime wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “Employees were working up to 50 hours a week – some exceeding 120 hours in a pay period – but were not always paid at least the federal minimum wage or overtime when required. These practices are unacceptable, and we will use all available enforcement tools to ensure companies pay employees according to the law.”
Investigators from the Wage and Hour Division’s New Orleans District Office interviewed employees and reviewed payroll records, determining that commissions earned by sales consultants did not always yield the federal minimum wage. In addition, many employees received “straight time” wages for all hours worked, rather than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 per week, as required under the FLSA. Investigators also found that the company did not maintain accurate records of employees’ work hours, wages and employment conditions, in violation of the FLSA’s record-keeping provisions.
Following the division’s investigations, the company agreed to future compliance with the FLSA in addition to paying all back wages owed. Owners Ty Hingle and Wylie Lee Burns also agreed to ensure that sales employees are paid commissions in compliance with the law and to install a new timekeeping system to accurately record all work hours.
Investigations were conducted at Mattress Direct locations in Foley, Mobile (two) and Spanish Fort, Ala.; Baton Rouge (two), Covington, Harahan, Harvey, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Metairie, New Orleans and Slidell, La.; D’Iberville, Flowood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg and Meridian, Miss.; and Pensacola, Fla.
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. Employers also are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
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 New Orleans office at 504-589-6171. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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