Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Feliciana Seafood Market in St. Francisville, La., to pay more than $43,000 in civil money penalties, back wages following US Labor Department investigation
Minimum wage, overtime and H-2B violations found
ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. -- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has assessed civil money penalties totaling $21,173 against Pace Enterprises LLC, doing business as Feliciana Seafood Market and Deli in St. Francisville, and Frank T. Pace, the company’s owner. The penalties follow an investigation that found violations of the overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well of the H-2B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Violations resulted in $22,281 in back wages due to 10 employees.
“The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that companies which employ foreign workers on a temporary basis adhere to the law by paying prevailing wage rates,” said Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrator for the Southwest. “This employer breached its agreement and did not pay either U.S. or nonimmigrant guest workers the wages they rightfully earned.”
The investigation determined that the company paid employees less than federal minimum wage, made illegal deductions from employees’ wages for items such as cash register shortages, failed to pay overtime wages for hours worked exceeding 40 in a week and failed to pay the offered wage specified in its H-2B certification. Additionally, the company failed to maintain required records and willfully misrepresented its need for foreign temporary workers. The employer has agreed to pay the civil money penalty assessment and the back wages due.
The H-2B program permits employers to hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be of a temporary nature for a limited period of time such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal or peak load need. The program requires the employer to attest to the Labor Department that it will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable federal minimum wage, state minimum wage, or local minimum wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment during the entire period of the approved certification. Certain recruitment and displacement standards are established in order to protect similarly employed workers in the United States.
Pace Enterprises, a retail convenience store, gasoline station and meat processing provider, has agreed to future compliance with the FLSA and H-2B program.
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 must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, as well as the H-2B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its New Orleans District Office at 504-589-6171. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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