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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 12-1017-DEN


June 13, 2012


Elizabeth Todd, Juan Rodriguez


972-850-4710, 972-850-4709

US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division focuses enforcement, education efforts on Colorado nurseries

DENVER -- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has launched an enforcement initiative focused on Colorado’s agricultural nursery industry to inform workers of their rights and increase employer compliance with the minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“This initiative aims to promote sustained employer compliance, particularly among nurseries engaged in retail services such as selling trees, plants, seeds and other garden products to the general public. Some of these nurseries even provide landscaping services in residential and commercial areas,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “A key focus of the initiative is to educate nursery employers about the requirements of the FLSA and to emphasize the applicability of the act’s overtime pay provisions to nurseries and similar nonagricultural operations.”

Under this initiative, Wage and Hour Division investigators are visiting nursery establishments throughout the state to identify and remedy common FLSA violations. Employee interviews and inspections of pay records and employment practices are being conducted to ensure compliance with all applicable labor standards. When violations are found, the division will pursue corrective action – including litigation, civil money penalties, liquidated damages and “hot goods” embargoes – to recover workers’ wages and ensure accountability.

The division is conducting outreach to workers and their representatives, industry representatives, community organizations, foreign consulates, state and local agencies, and other stakeholders to inform them of the initiative and encourage their participation in promoting industrywide compliance. The division also is continuing to provide compliance assistance and education to employers, industry associations and state licensing agencies on all applicable regulations.

Employees engaged in agricultural work are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime pay provisions. For more information, see the division’s Fact Sheet No. 12 at Nursery employees who handle only products grown at the nursery are generally exempt from the FLSA overtime requirements. However, nursery employees who handle agricultural products grown elsewhere may be entitled to overtime compensation, at time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

Information on establishments investigated will be included in the division’s enforcement database, which can be viewed at and is also accessible via the “Eat Shop Sleep” smartphone application available at Consumers, employees and other members of the public can use the app to learn if a restaurant, hotel or retail establishment has been investigated by the division and whether FLSA violations were found. Businesses will have a greater incentive to comply with the law now that their compliance track records are publicly available.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 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. Additionally, employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

For more information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Denver office at 720-264-3250. Information is also available at


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit