Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
HOUSTON -- Alcon Laboratories Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer of eye care products, has agreed to pay $199,443 in back wages to 342 assemblers, material handlers and production technicians following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found systemic violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions at the company’s Houston manufacturing facility.
“This company did not pay employees for time spent in putting on work clothing and protective gear,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “Workers are entitled to receive the wages they have rightfully earned.”
The division’s Houston and Dallas District Offices determined that the company failed to pay workers for time spent donning, doffing and sanitizing protective personal equipment. Employees are required to wear work clothing and protective gear before clocking in to begin work, but they were not paid for the time spent doing so or for cleaning up at the end of the workday. As a result, the required overtime wages were not paid.
Record-keeping violations occurred because the employer failed to record all hours worked by employees, such as employee time to put on and take off protective gear.
Fort Worth, Texas-based Alcon, has agreed to future compliance with the FLSA. Back wages have been paid in full. According to the company, it plans on maintaining future compliance by taking proactive steps, such as moving the time-clock system next to employee lockers and requiring employees to clock-in before they don personal protective equipment and clock-out after they have doffed personal protective equipment.
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, 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 Dallas office at 817-861-2150. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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