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News Brief

Las Vegas landscaper to pay $119K in overtime wages, damages to 10 workers following U.S. Department of Labor investigation

Employer: Escalera Landscaping Inc.

Site: 5012 Arville Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89118

Investigation findings: Investigators from the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Escalera Landscaping violated the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The firm improperly considered working foremen to be exempt from overtime, and paid them flat weekly salaries without regard to how many hours they had actually worked. These employees  routinely worked  up to 54 hours per week, yet the employer failed to keep an accurate record of hours worked  and failed to pay them overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek

Resolution: Escalera Landscaping will pay $59,527 in overtime back wages and an additional, equal amount in liquidated damages for a total of $119,054 to 10 employees.

Quote: “Failure to pay legally-required wages hurts not only workers and their families, but leads to unfair competition because businesses that play by the rules operate at a disadvantage to those that do not,” said Gene Ramos, assistant district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Las Vegas. “This investigation should send a clear message to other employers to evaluate their pay practices and to ensure that they are in compliance with federal labor laws.  Our division is committed to ensuring that workers receive every penny they have rightfully earned.”

Information: Simply paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not eligible for overtime. The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for individuals employed in bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions, as well as certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee's specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the department's regulations.  On June 30, 2015, the Wage and Hour Division announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update the regulations defining which white collar workers are eligible to receive pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/NPRM2015.

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. For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or the Las Vegas office at 702-388-6001. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd

Read this news brief in Españól.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
January 25, 2016
Release Number
15-2475-SAN
Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number
Contact: Jose Carnevali