Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- From the Heart Enterprises Inc., doing business as FTH Wholesale in Broken Arrow, has agreed to pay $55,965 in overtime back wages to 60 current and former jewelry makers following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, which found violations of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The investigation by the Wage and Hour Division’s Oklahoma City District Office determined that From the Heart Enterprises paid employees only a fixed piece rate per item for assembling jewelry at home, outside of their normal working hours, without regard to the number of hours they worked. This resulted in overtime violations when employees were not paid an overtime premium of one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The employer also failed to include employees’ bonuses in their regular rates of pay when calculating overtime payment and failed to maintain payroll records, as required by the FLSA.
“Paying an employee on a piece rate does not absolve an employer of their responsibility to pay overtime,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “In this case, vulnerable, low-wage employees worked outside of their normal work schedules assembling jewelry at home. The employer failed to count these hours when determining if an employee was due overtime. It doesn’t matter if work is performed on-site or at home, or if employees are paid by the hour or by the piece—overtime is due after 40 hours. The department is committed to ensuring that employees receive the pay they have rightfully earned.”
The company has agreed to comply with the FLSA in the future and to pay the back wages found due in full.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses, piece-rate earnings 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 the division’s Oklahoma City office at 405-231-4158. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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