Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
WEST COVINA -- The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in federal court ordering automotive detailer Interior Magic of California LLC, and officers Frank and Tammy Hallberg, to pay $292,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 205 current and former employees, plus pay $34,408 in civil money penalties. The judgment comes after an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found the Torrance-based company willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions.
Investigators found that the employer made illegal deductions from employees’ wages for property damage that resulted in workers being paid less than the federal minimum wage. The employer also paid workers straight time for all hours worked and did not pay an overtime premium for hours worked beyond 40 per week, as required by the FLSA. The employer also improperly classified some nonexempt employees as exempt from overtime pay, thereby denying them appropriate payment for overtime hours worked. In addition, the company failed to maintain proper payroll records of employees’ daily and weekly hours, in violation of the FLSA’s record-keeping provisions.
“This employer committed willful labor violations, which deprived more than 200 workers of their hard-earned wages,” said Daniel Pasquil, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s West Covina District Office. “As demonstrated by this consent judgment, we are vigorously pursuing corrective action in situations where the rights of workers are violated. Interior Magic of California has agreed to implement several specific measures to prevent future FLSA violations; we encourage other employers to learn from this case, and take similar steps to ensure compliance with the law.”
In addition to requiring the payment of the back wages and liquidated damages, the consent judgment prohibits the defendants from violating the FLSA in the future and requires payment of $34,408 in civil money penalties due to the willfulness of the violations. The defendants are required to amend payroll practices to come into compliance and must display a notice of the department’s findings, in both English and Spanish, in areas highly visible to employees. The defendants must hire a third party to train all supervisors on the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and anti-retaliation provisions.
Interior Magic of California is an automotive detailer that also provides minor cosmetic repair services to 17 major car dealerships throughout Southern California.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as one and one-half times their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are generally liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, which are paid directly to the affected employees.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The department was represented by its Regional Office of the Solicitor in Los Angeles. For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its West Covina office at 626-966-0478. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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