Chicagoland area grocer pays $144K in overtime back wages to 14 workers after US Department of Labor investigation
STREAMWOOD, IL – An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $144,775 in overtime back wages for 14 employees of the Fiesta Market Inc. based in Streamwood. The division found the grocer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by wrongly considering salaried employees working in positions such as butchers, truck drivers, cooks and produce stockers as exempt from overtime, and failing to keep accurate records of the number of overtime hours they worked.
Fiesta paid these workers flat salaries, regardless of the number of hours they worked per week. By doing so, they violated FLSA overtime requirements when these employees worked more than 40 hours per week but the employer failed to pay them overtime. The grocer erroneously believed that payment on a salary basis in itself meant that the employees were not due overtime.
“Grocery workers are among the essential workforce that have kept us moving forward throughout the challenges of the past year, and they deserve to be paid every cent of their hard-earned wages,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Tom Gauza, in Chicago. “Too often, we find employers fail to pay overtime to salaried workers mistakenly. Other employers should use the results of this investigation as an opportunity to evaluate their own pay practices to ensure they comply with the law.”
Unless a specific exemption applies, workers paid on a salary basis, by the hour, on a piece rate, on a day rate, or by other methods are entitled to overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Investigators found violations at the company’s locations in Streamwood, Mount Prospect and Bolingbrook.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.