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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 11-1135-DAL

Date: 

Aug. 18, 2011

Contact: 

Elizabeth Todd - Juan Rodriguez

Phone: 

972-850-4710 - 972-850-4709

US Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division conducts concentrated law enforcement effort in western Oklahoma


12 companies agree to pay more than $49,000 in back wages to 108 workers

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Twelve western Oklahoma businesses encompassing multiple industries have collectively agreed to pay $49,462 in back wages to 108 employees, following investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“We are determined to invest resources where they will have a comprehensive and statewide impact,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The law is the same in rural areas as it is in big cities. Being paid off the books does not make a laborer an independent contractor. Our goal is to protect the low-wage and vulnerable workers who are often denied the pay legally guaranteed them by law.”

After conducting employee interviews and reviewing time and payroll records, investigators determined that some employees were paid “straight time” for all hours worked, including those over 40 in a week. Additionally, some employers failed to maintain the required record keeping; made illegal deductions such as charging employees for a background check, resulting in wages falling below the federal minimum wage; and failed to display the required Department of Labor poster.

These investigations, conducted by the division’s Oklahoma City District Office, are part of the agency’s ongoing effort to obtain, maintain and sustain compliance in underserved rural communities. They also contribute to the division’s goal of achieving systemwide compliance in industries with high concentrations of low-wage and vulnerable workers where violations are historically prevalent.

The FLSA requires that covered workers be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, and time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked over 40 in a week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records. When violations are found, the Wage and Hour Division will require payment of back wages and, in some cases, monetary penalties, liquidated damages and other remedies to promote compliance with federal labor laws.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Oklahoma City office at 405-231-4158. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

Editor's Note: A table listing the businesses and their locations follows this news release.

Western Oklahoma businesses included in collective agreement

----------------------------------------------
Town	  | Business   
---------------------------------------------- 
Elk City  | Kidz on Broadway  
 	  | Best Western of Elk City 
          | Circle W Services   
	  | Clarion Hotel   
	  | Rodeway Inn, formerly Econo Lodge  
----------------------------------------------
Woodward  | Days Inn
	  | Northwest Inn
	  | Sands Inn  & Suites
	  | Snowball Heaven
	  | Stanfield Printing Co.
	  | Super 8 Woodward
	  | Titan Drilling
----------------------------------------------	

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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.