Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.
Date: Jan. 9, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone: (312) 353-6976
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 12-2381-KAN
Furniture Loft pays more than $16,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to workers at Kansas stores following US Labor Department investigation
OSAGE CITY, Kan. -- Furniture Loft has paid a total of $16,489 in back wages and liquidated damages to six workers at the company’s Osage City and Emporia stores following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division that determined the stores violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay workers proper minimum wage and overtime compensation.
“Workers have a right to receive proper compensation for all hours worked and may collect additional damages when employers fail to comply with the FLSA,” said Patricia Preston, district director of the division in Kansas City, Mo. “This investigation should serve as notice to other employers to ensure that they are paying their employees in compliance with the law. When they are not, our department is prepared to use every enforcement tool available, including the assessment of liquidated damages, to collect wages employees have rightfully earned, and to level the playing field for law-abiding employers.”
The investigation found that delivery drivers working at both Furniture Loft locations were paid by separate checks for hours worked at each location. Those hours were not combined each week to determine if employees had worked beyond 40 hours in total, thus entitling them to overtime compensation. Additionally, when employees worked more than 40 hours in a week at a single location, the overtime hours were moved to the other location’s payroll and were paid at straight time. The company also withheld pay from some employees for damages caused to furniture, causing their pay to fall below the mandatory minimum wage, in violation of the FLSA. The investigation also determined a sales associate was paid by commission only and did not always earn at least the required minimum wage. The Kansas City Wage and Hour Division office conducted the investigation.
In total, five employees of the Osage City store were paid $14,754, and one employee at the Emporia store was paid $1,735 in back wages and liquidated damages. 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. The employer agreed to change its pay practices to comply fully with the FLSA in the future and to pay the back wages and liquidated damages in full.
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. Earnings may be determined on a piece-rate, salary, commission or other basis, but in all such cases, the overtime pay due must be computed using the employee’s average hourly rate. Employers are also required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
To learn more about the FLSA’s requirements, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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