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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 12-1459-KAN

Date: 

Aug. 15, 2012

Contact: 

Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke

Phone: 

(312) 353-6976

Peninsula Gaming assessed $9,300 in penalties for child labor violations, pays more than $46,000 in back wages following US Labor Department investigations


Fair Labor Standards Act violations found at 2 Diamond Jo Casinos in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The U.S. Department of Labor has assessed $9,300 in civil money penalties against Dubuque-based Peninsula Gaming LLC after investigations by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that teens employed at the company’s Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood performed hazardous jobs prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions. The investigations also disclosed violations of the FLSA’s overtime pay and record-keeping requirements, resulting in back wages totaling $46,531 recovered for 32 employees at both the Diamond Jo Casino and the company’s Diamond Jo Riverboat Casino in Dubuque.

Investigators found that minor employees at the Northwood casino were allowed to load and operate trash compactors in violation of the FLSA’s Hazardous Occupations Order No. 12, which generally prohibits workers under 18 from operating, loading or unloading trash compactors. The overtime violations at both casinos are due to the company incorrectly classifying employees as exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. Consequently, workers were paid a flat salary that did not include the additional half-time premium due on hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Finally, the company failed to properly record employees’ hours worked. All back wages owed have been paid in full.

“The Wage and Hour Division is committed to keeping young employees safe in the workplace and to ensuring that all employees are paid a premium for overtime work when they are entitled to it,” said Michael Staebell, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Des Moines District Office, which conducted the investigations. “Employers must understand that correctly classifying employees as exempt or nonexempt is critical to complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers or detrimental to their health or well-being. A list of hazardous occupations prohibited for minors is available on the Wage and Hour Division’s website at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/haznonag.asp. Additional information on child labor rules can be found at http://www.youthrules.dol.gov/index.htm.

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. Employers also are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.

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 exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exemption status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the department’s regulations.

For more information about the FLSA including its youth employment regulations, or other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.