U.S. Department of Labor Investigations Find Indiana Automotive Service Chain Owes Over $1 Million in Back Wages, Damages To 1,056 Employees
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – After several investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Best One Tire Group – based in Monroe, Indiana – has agreed to pay $1,023,808 in overtime back wages and liquidated damages for 1,056 employees nationwide for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigated 203 tire stores operating under the Best One Tire Group in 24 states and found 835 employees were due $622,142 in overtime back wages. Wage violations occurred when the employer failed to include bonuses, commissions, incentive pay, and shift differentials in the calculation when determining overtime pay rates. Excluding these amounts from worker's total straight time rates resulted in the employers paying overtime at rates lower than those required by law. Thirteen prior investigations conducted in 2017 and 2018 at various tire stores under the Best One Tire Group found $218,486 in overtime back wages and $183,180 in liquidated damages due to 221 employees for similar violations.
"The violations disclosed in these investigations are far too common. The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is committed to increasing knowledge and awareness of the laws so that employees receive all their hard-earned wages," said Wage and Hour District Director Patricia Lewis, in Indianapolis. "This employer cooperated during the investigations and is taking steps to ensure compliance at all of their locations. We encourage employers to contact WHD for guidance and compliance assistance."
In an effort to educate others in the industry, Best One Tire Group agreed to write a compliance article for a tire industry trade magazine and to conduct an FLSA audit of any new companies wishing to join the Best One Group to ensure compliance with wage laws. The tire group will also require any new companies to pay any back wages found due in the audits prior to admitting them into the organization.
In addition to conducting investigations, WHD conducts outreach events for employers and industry stakeholders to provide compliance assistance and information on both employers' and employees' legal rights and responsibilities.
Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other federal labor laws, call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.