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Ashley Furniture franchisee ordered to pay $216K in back wages, damages, penalties in US Labor Department settlement
Date of Action: Nov. 22, 2016
Type of Action: Lawsuit settlement and entry of judgment and injunction
Name of Defendant: Han Nara Enterprises L.P.
Findings: The U.S. Department of Labor and Han Nara Enterprises L.P. have resolved a lawsuit filed Nov. 8, 2016 with a consent judgment and injunction entered by the court on Nov. 22, 2016. The judgment’s entry and injunction requires Han Nara – which does business as Ashley Furniture Homestore with seven retail outlets in New Mexico and Texas – to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements and pay a total of $161,221 in back wages and liquidated damages to pay more than 500 employees. The company will also pay $55,000 in civil money penalties for committing willful and repeat violations. Han Nara has also agreed to five years of semi-annual audits by an independent third-party auditor, to ensure its ongoing compliance.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated Han Nara four times in the past nine years, each time finding that the employer failed to pay employees properly. In the most recent investigation, investigators found that the company misapplied an exemption from the FLSA’s overtime requirements intended for commissioned sales employees, and altered time cards to reduce employees’ hours and pay. Han Nara attempted to use these practices to avoid paying its employees overtime.
Quote: “This is not the first time this Ashley Furniture store operator has violated the law,” said Betty R. Campbell, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “This settlement ensures that these workers will receive the wages they have rightfully earned. Employers should take note - the costs associated with choosing to break the law extend beyond court costs to liquidated damages and civil money penalties. The resolution of this case illustrates the Wage and Hour Division’s commitment to protecting low wage workers, and leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers.”
Additional Information: The division continues to conduct investigations focusing on low-wage industries and recidivist employers. For more information about the overtime exemption for commissioned retail workers or other information about compliance with the FLSA, visit www.dol.gov/whd/, or call 866-4US-WAGE.
Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Docket Number: 5:16-CV-256-C