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News Release

New Jersey mattress company agrees to pay nearly $300K in back wages, damages after denying overtime to 55 production workers

US Labor Department finds Citi Mattress violated federal wage law

PASSAIC, N.J. – Fifty-five low-wage production workers who spend long work days sewing and loading mattresses at a Passaic mattress refurbishment company will soon receive their share of $292,998 in back wages and liquidated damages after the company entered into a consent judgment with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The agreement resolves the department’s Wage and Hour Division investigation of Citi Mattress Inc., which found the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying the workers the proper overtime pay when they worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.

“The outcome in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the nation’s vulnerable, low-wage workers from exploitation,” said John Warner, district director for the department’s Wage and Hour Division in Northern New Jersey. “This agreement guarantees that the workers will be compensated properly for all of the hours they worked and provides added safeguards to protect employees in the future.”

In addition to paying the back wages and damages, the judgment requires the company to take the following measures to ensure future compliance with the FLSA:

  • Use a time clock or other automated timekeeping system.
  • Permanently display the poster “Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” in English and Spanish.
  • Provide information about the FLSA to current and new employees in English and Spanish.
  • Maintain proper time records for all employees.
  • Provide non-exempt employees with a statement reflecting the hours worked for each day in the workweek and total hours each workweek.

“Employers have a legal responsibility to pay employees the proper wages,” said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, the department’s regional solicitor in New York. “This action underscores how aggressively we plan to enforce the law when employers fall short of that responsibility.”

The division’s Northern New Jersey office conducted the investigation. Daniel Hennefeld and Molly Biklen in the department’s New York regional solicitors’ office litigated the case.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the 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 must maintain accurate time and payroll records. Employers who violate the law are liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Both back wages and liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.

For more information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/

Agency
Office of the Solicitor
Date
December 27, 2016
Release Number
16-2387-NEW
Contact: Leni Fortson
Phone Number
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
Phone Number