RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Drivers experience frustrations when stuck in congested traffic areas, such as Los Angeles. Sometimes, other factors test their tolerance, such as spending multiple hours behind the wheel each day for work and not getting paid for all that time, as required by law. That is what happened to 127 workers in Riverside.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that Mota's Floorcovering Inc. in Riverside paid straight time for all hours worked — including those employees who put in more than 40 hours in a workweek — in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime provisions. The company also required workers to travel each day to and from work sites, including out-of-town assignments. However, the company did not always count travel time correctly and compensate the time as hours worked. In addition, the employer failed to include compensable travel time for overtime wage calculations, and did not keep accurate time records, in violation of the FLSA.
Mota's Floorcovering has paid $229,357 in overtime back wages and $229,357 in liquidated damages to 127 workers. The company has paid a $23,749 penalty to the federal government.
"Employers that require workers to travel to and from work sites as part of their daily routines should take note of this case to avoid a common, but easily preventable labor violation," said Gayane Aleksanian, assistant district director for the Wage and Hour Division in West Covina. "We are glad that Mota's Floorcovering acknowledged the issues and stepped up to remedy the situation immediately."
Travel time for workers is not compensable in all cases. However, when an employee must report to a meeting place to receive instructions or to perform work, or pick up and carry tools, the travel from the designated place to the workplace is part of the day's work, and must be counted as hours worked.
The FLSA also requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the 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 must maintain accurate time and payroll records. 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/.
- Read this news release in Spanish.