Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Structural Systems Inc., doing business as SSI Inc. Design/Build in Fort Smith, has paid $17,154 in overtime back wages to 12 current and former employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act at three of the company’s Arkansas facilities.
“This employer failed to pay employees all the wages they have rightfully earned,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The construction industry employs some of the most vulnerable workers we see. The department is committed to ensuring that an honest day’s work results in an honest day’s pay. Employers should examine their own payroll practices and ensure that they are paying their employees in compliance with the law.”
The investigation by the Wage and Hour Division’s Little Rock District Office found that the company failed to pay employees for time spent traveling between work sites during the workday and for hours worked in the firm’s supply yard. The employer also improperly classified office employees as exempt from overtime requirements when, in fact, they were due overtime compensation at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Additionally, the company failed to maintain accurate records of the hours worked by employees, as required by the FLSA. Affected employees worked at the company’s facility on Murphy Drive in Maumelle and on La Grande Drive and North McKinley in Little Rock.
In addition to paying the back wages found due in full and agreeing to comply with the FLSA in the future, SSI Inc., a commercial design and construction company providing services throughout the Southeastern U.S. as well as California and Michigan, agreed to train project managers and superintendents nationwide in FLSA compliance.
The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for individuals employed in bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions, as well as certain computer employees. To qualify for an exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid a salary of not less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status, and simply paying an employee a salary does not eliminate the need to pay overtime. For an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the department’s regulations.
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 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 Little Rock District Office at 501-223-9114. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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