Zeigler Auto Group pays $85K in back wages to 214 workers after US Department of Labor investigation
KALAMAZOO, MI – Zeigler Auto Group’s sales may place it among the leading auto dealerships nationwide, but a recent federal investigation found sales consultants’ commissions often failed to meet minimum wage requirements at 13 Michigan, Indiana and Illinois locations.
The investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered a total of $85,111, in minimum wages and overtime back wages for 214 employees of Harold Zeigler Auto Group Inc.
“Employees paid on commission basis must earn at least the federal minimum wage per hour of work completed. If they do not, employers must make up the difference,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Mary O’Rourke in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Our investigation put money into the pockets of workers who were underpaid, and levels the playing field for employers who play by the rules. Other employers in this industry should use this investigation as an opportunity to review their own pay practices and avoid similar violations.”
The division found the employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when they:
- Failed to assure that sales consultants’ commissions covered at least the federal minimum wage for all the hours that they worked during each monthly settlement period;
- Wrongly classified some salaried employees in their business development centers as exempt from overtime requirements, and then failed to pay them overtime despite their duties not qualifying for exemption; and
- Failed to maintain accurate payroll records.
Investigators determined the employer had underpaid 80 sales consultants employed at 10 locations including: Zeigler of Kalamazoo, Zeigler Motorsports, Zeigler of Grandville and Zeigler of Plainwell, in Michigan; Zeigler Ford of Elkhart, Indiana; and Hoffman Estates Mercedes Benz, Hoffman Estates Infiniti, Zeigler Nissan of Gurnee, Zeigler of North Riverside and Zeigler of Lincolnwood, all located in Illinois.
Headquartered in Kalamazoo, Zeigler Auto Group owns and operates 30 retail automotive dealerships, three finance companies, a leasing firm, insurance firms and a real estate portfolio throughout Southwest Michigan, Northern Indiana and Illinois.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the agency, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.