Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Judge orders The Realty Center to pay nearly $30,000 in back wages, damages to 14 workers in Lincoln, Neb., following US Labor Department investigation
LINCOLN, Neb. -- A federal judge in Lincoln has entered a default judgment against G.A.S. and Realty Linc Inc. – also known as The Realty Center, The Realty Center Property Management and Realty Lincoln – to pay a total of $29,284 in back wages and liquidated damages to 14 employees. The judgment was entered after the real estate management company and owner Gary T. Thompson failed to answer or appear in court in response to a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Labor in December 2011,which was based on the results of an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division.
“The findings of the court, particularly the award of liquidated damages, reinforce the Wage and Hour Division's commitment to enforcing the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Michael Staebell, district director of the division in Des Moines, Iowa. “This case sends a message that employers who willfully violate wage laws, falsify records or conceal violations can expect to face legal consequences.”
The division's investigation found that the back wages are owed due to violations of the FLSA's overtime pay, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions. Specifically, the violations include not paying for all hours worked, including short rest periods and post-shift work time required to complete paperwork, as well as requiring yard crew employees to sign an agreement stating that the hours they worked in excess of 40 per week would be banked and represented as earned sick, vacation or compensatory time. Additionally, the company artificially adjusted employee pay rates in an effort to make it appear that overtime was properly computed and paid.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In general, “hours worked” includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer's premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. The law also requires that accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.
The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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