Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
EL PASO, Texas -- Viva Auto Group has agreed to pay $797,405 in back minimum wages to 480 current and former sales employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act at eight of the company’s locations in El Paso.
“Employers need to understand that employees must be paid for all hours worked, which includes paying for required training,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “We are pleased these employees will receive the wages they have rightfully earned.”
An investigation by the division’s El Paso Field Office found that Viva Auto Group made illegal deductions from employees’ pay for training, which the employees were required to take, and for fees charged to reward customers for referring family or friends to the establishment. Investigators also found that the company paid employees less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and did not pay them for all hours worked. Additionally, required record-keeping was not maintained.
Viva Auto Group sells new and used automobiles. Violations were found at the following locations: Viva Auto Group, Viva Chevrolet and Viva Kia on Montana Street; Viva Dodge on Gateway Boulevard East; Viva Nissan on Zaragoza Road; Viva Mitsubishi and Viva Collision Center on Magruder Street; and Bestway Auto on Airway Boulevard.
The company has agreed to future compliance with the FLSA. Payment of the back wages owed is ongoing.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its El Paso office at 915-534-6426. Information is also available at: http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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