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News Brief

Florida clothing company, Exist Inc., fails to pay workers overtime pay

Employer paying nearly $240K in back wages to 77 employees following U.S. Labor
Department investigation

Employer name: Exist Inc.

Investigation site: 1650 NW 23 Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311

Investigation findings: Investigators from the department's Wage and Hour Division Fort Lauderdale District Office found that Exist Inc. violated the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, the employer paid 77 employees straight time wages rather than overtime at the required time and one-half when employees work beyond 40 hours in a work week. The employer also failed to keep accurate and complete payroll records.

Whenever goods are produced in violation of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime or child labor provisions, the department can petition a judge to restrain those goods from being shipped via interstate commerce. This action is commonly referred to as the "hot goods" provision. If an investigation uncovers evidence that goods were produced in violation of the FLSA, the investigator may advise the employer that the FLSA prohibits the interstate shipment of any goods that were produced in violation of the FLSA and may request that the employer voluntarily refrain from shipment of those goods until the investigation has been concluded.

WHD typically seeks to resolve the issue of compliance with the employer informally. As part of a resolution, WHD may ask the employer or any other entity that receives or ships the goods, to voluntarily refrain from shipping the "hot goods" until legally required wages have been paid and until other remedies or agreements are in place that the Department deems necessary to ensure future compliance with the law.

Wage and Hour Division investigators advised the employer in this case that the clothes they had produced were "hot goods."

Resolution: After receiving the department's notice that the goods were "hot," Exist Inc. voluntarily agreed not to ship the goods produced until the employees were paid back wages. The next day the firm paid $238,534 in back wages to 77 employees and agreed to comply with FLSA in the future.

Quote: "Employers bear the responsibility of learning and following the laws that apply to their businesses. Workers, particularly low wage, vulnerable workers, like those in the garment industry, rely on their employers to obey the law and to pay them the wages they have rightfully earned," said Frank McGriggs, the Wage and Hour Division's deputy regional administrator in Atlanta.

WHD News Brief: [10/06/2015]
Contact Name: Lindsay Williams or Michael D'Aquino
Phone Number: (678) 237-0630
Email:
williams.lindsay.l@dol.gov or D'Aquino.Michael@dol.gov
Release Number: 15-1727-ATL