News Release

Local Government in Michigan Pays $54,945 in Back Wages to 48 Police and Firefighters after U.S. Department of Labor Investigation

BELLEVILLE, MI After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Charter Township of Van Buren has paid $54,945 in back wages to 48 current and former employees for violations of the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD investigators determined the Wayne County government entity – based in Belleville, Michigan – violated overtime provisions of the FLSA by failing to pay employees the required overtime specifically for time they spent working before their shifts officially began.  In addition, the employer paid some firefighters at straight-time rates for overtime hours worked and paid some police officers straight time for hours they spent in training, even when employees worked those hours in overtime workweeks.  

“Employers must pay their employees all the wages they have legally earned, and must understand the laws that apply to specific employment situations, such as, in this case, those that govern pay for public safety employees,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Timolin Mitchell, in Detroit, Michigan. “The outcome of this investigation should remind other employers to review their pay practices to ensure they comply with the law. Employers are encouraged to contact the Wage and Hour Division to better understand their responsibilities so that they can avoid violations.”

The FLSA provides that fire protection or law enforcement employees may be paid overtime on a “work period” basis, with a work period ranging from seven to 28 consecutive days. WHD’s Fact Sheet about law enforcement and fire protection employees provides more information.

The department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the 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/agencies/whd.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
January 28, 2020
Release Number
20-43-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number
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