Federal Judge Orders Michigan Logging Company to Pay $878,874 In Overtime Back Wages and Liquidated Damages to 50 Employees
GAYLORD, MI – A federal judge has ordered Timberline South LLC – based in Gaylord, Michigan – and its manager Jim Payne to pay $878,874 in back wages and liquidated damages to 50 employees after finding the logging company and Payne violated the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The U.S. Secretary of Labor filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after an investigation conducted by the Department's Wage and Hour Division's (WHD) Grand Rapids District Office concluded Timberline South and Payne violated the FLSA.
WHD investigators determined Timberline South LLC and Payne failed to pay employees – including truck drivers, equipment operators, and shop personnel – overtime when they worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. Instead, the company paid only "straight time" no matter how many hours employees worked, and paid various combinations of hourly rates, piece rates, and day rates.
In his decision and order, Judge Thomas L. Ludington determined the Division properly reconstructed overtime back wages for employees where the employers failed to keep accurate records of the number of hours employees worked, as the law requires.
The FLSA requires covered employers to pay non-exempt employee's time-and-one-half their regular rates of pay after 40 hours worked per week regardless of whether the employees are paid on a salary, piece rate, hourly rate, or a combination.
"Employers must understand their obligations under the law. Failing to pay employees overtime gives employers an unfair advantage in the market place and denies employees their hard earned wages," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Mary O'Rourke, in Grand Rapids. "We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance, and to make use of the many tools we provide to help them understand their obligations under the law."
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by WHD.
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Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Northern Division
Civil Action No.: 1:16-cv-11552