US Department of Labor recovers $287K in back wages, damages from Asheville novelty wholesaler who denied 152 workers full wages
RALEIGH, NC – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $287,923 in back wages and liquidated damages for 152 workers after its investigation found that an Asheville gift and novelty wholesaler ran afoul of federal law by denying some workers the full overtime pay they earned.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that AFG Distribution banked overtime hours worked by some employees and offered them back to workers as paid leave on an hour-for-hour basis. By doing so, the employer failed to pay the additional half-time premium for those overtime hours, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In addition, the employer failed to pay the additional overtime premium on monthly commissions earned by sales personnel and on quarterly bonuses paid to employees when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.
As a result of its investigation, the Wage and Hour Division recovered $143,961 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
“Employers are responsible for paying all employees correctly for all the hours they work. Failure to do so deprives workers of their hard-earned wages,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock, in Raleigh, North Carolina. “The U.S. Department of Labor provides numerous tools to help employers comply with the law, and we encourage employers and employees alike to contact us for assistance.”
Established in 1999, AFG Distribution operates in Asheville and sells wholesale gifts and novelties.
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including its search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from, and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free.