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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment Standards Administration

ESA Press Release: Colorado Meatpacker Fined Nearly $1.3 Million for Repeated Violations of Federal Overtime Law [09/18/1998]

For more information call: PHONE: 693-0023

The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Monfort, Inc., a Colorado meatpacker, $1,278,500 for willful and repeated violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The fine follows an appeals court decision that upheld a federal judge's determination that Monfort engaged in willful violations of the FLSA. The company also owes workers $2.2 million in back wages.

"The Department of Labor will pursue legal action and assess fines when employers fail to come into compliance with labor laws," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "The department is working to ensure that workers particularly those in low-wage industries receive the wages which they earned."

The fine is for violations in 1993-94 when 2,557 employees were not paid overtime wages due them. The Labor Department began to assess civil money penalties, or fines, for repeat and willful wage violations in 1992.

The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division first investigated Monfort in 1984 at its Greeley, Colo., plant and in 1989 at its Grand Island, Neb., plant. Both times the company agreed to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets requirements to pay the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.

Following a determination of subsequent violations, the Labor Department in 1992 sued Monfort alleging that the company had failed to pay overtime as required to more than 5,000 employees at its Greeley plant. The U.S. District Court for the Colorado District ordered Monfort to pay $2,215,948 in back wages, including interest. Monfort appealed the court's decision, but lost its appeal in May.

The appeals court upheld the earlier court's determination that the violations were willful and repeated so the Labor Department proceeded to assess the civil money penalties. Monfort has 15 days in which to file an exception to the assessment, which is then referred to a Department of Labor administrative law judge for a hearing.

The court ordered Monfort to pay the back wages directly to the employees who worked there from Dec. 15, 1989, through Sept. 18, 1994. Employees who have questions about their entitlement to back pay should contact the company.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Agency
Employment Standards Administration
Date
September 18, 1998
Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number