Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Nebraska Title Co. agrees to pay more than $92,000 in back wages to 24 employees following Labor Department investigation of real estate company
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska Title Co. has agreed to pay 24 workers a total of $92,782 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions when residential and commercial real estate closers were found to be improperly classified as exempt from overtime requirements.
“Improperly classifying workers as being exempt from overtime is a common violation found in the real estate industry,” said Michael Staebell, the division’s district director in Des Moines, Iowa. “The criteria for exemption from overtime are very specific to ensure workers are properly compensated for all hours worked. Simply paying someone a salary does not automatically make them exempt. Other employers should take this as an opportunity to review their payroll practices to ensure that they are paying their employees in compliance.”
The investigation determined that Nebraska Title Co. failed to pay nonexempt employees overtime compensation at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week, as required by the FLSA. Instead, the firm wrongly considered real estate closers to be exempt from overtime requirements and paid them fixed salaries each week, without regard to the number of hours worked. The employees’ job duties failed to meet the criteria for an exemption to apply. The company also failed to incorporate production bonuses into employees’ regular rates of pay when calculating overtime rates. Record-keeping violations were also cited during the investigation when the employer failed to keep time records for the employees improperly classified as exempt.
The violations affected employees at Nebraska Title Co. locations in Beatrice, Lincoln, Omaha and Plattsmouth. Nebraska Title is owned by Title Midwest Inc., which is a subsidiary of TM Holdings Inc. of Topeka, Kan.
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 on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status. 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. Employers also are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
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 visit http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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