News Release

US Department of Labor finds Las Vegas air conditioning, heating company directed employees to misrepresent their hours to avoid paying overtime

Sierra Air Conditioning pays $59K in back wages, penalties to resolve willful labor violations

LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas air conditioning and heating company has learned trying to violate federal labor laws secretly is both unwise and costly, after a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation.

Following its investigation, the division has recovered $53,654 in back wages for 13 employees of Sierra Air Conditioning and Heating, and cited the company for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime, minimum wage and recordkeeping requirements. The division also assessed $5,395 in civil money penalties because a 2017 investigation found Sierra committed similar violations. In that case, the company paid $46,220 in back wages and $20,000 in penalties.

The division’s recent investigation found Sierra Air Conditioning and Heating illegally required some workers to record only 8 hours per day on their timecards regardless of the actual number of hours they worked. The company did not allow workers – paid piece-rate wages – to record any hours they worked in excess of 40 in the workweek. Paying piece-rate wages without regard to number of hours worked results in violations of the FLSA when employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek but the employer fails to pay overtime.

“Employers who willfully instruct workers to misrepresent the number of hours they actually work on their timecards in an attempt to avoid paying overtime shortchange their employees and their families of hard-earned wages,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Higinio Ramos in Las Vegas. “We will hold violators like this accountable and protect law-abiding employers who suffer when a competitor attempts to gain an unfair and illegal financial advantage.”

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.

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Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
May 27, 2021
Release Number
21-854-SAN
Contact: Jose Carnevali
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