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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 12-2185-ATL (378)


Nov. 15, 2012


Michael D'Aquino



Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, Fla., to pay more than $21,000 in back wages to workers following US Department of Labor investigation

INDIAN SHORES, Fla. -- Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary Inc. in Indian Shores has agreed to pay nine employees a total of $21,336 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions.

Investigators found that the employer failed to pay some employees for several workweeks, which resulted in minimum wage violations. Additionally, some workers were paid fixed salaries without regard to the number of hours worked, which resulted in their pay falling below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. These salaries also failed to include compensation for overtime hours – those beyond 40 per week – at time and one-half employees’ regular rates, as required by the FLSA.

“Employers are legally obligated to pay for all hours worked, including overtime when employees work more than 40 hours in a week,” said James Schmidt, district director of the division’s Tampa District Office. “The Wage and Hour Division is using every enforcement tool available to ensure workplace protections, and to prevent employers who choose not to comply with the law from gaining an unfair advantage in the market over those who do comply. We remain vigilant in securing for workers the wages that they rightfully have earned.”

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is a wild bird hospital.

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. Simply paying employees a salary does not exempt them from overtime. To qualify for the 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. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all of the requirements specified by the department’s regulations.

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.

Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division’s Tampa office at 813-288-1242 or its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), as well as by visiting


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at 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