A Kentucky landscaping employer failed to pay workers overtime at the required 1 ½ overtime rate. The employer also made improper deductions for the cost of uniforms. The owner of Mike Osbourn Lawn Care Inc. – will pay $76,067 in back wages and liquidated damages to 69 employees.
Overtime is Not Straight Time.
The employer paid and reported the first 40 hours of each employee’s weekly hours on payroll, then paid for any additional hours in cash or with a separate check, all at straight-time rates. This cheated employees out of the proper overtime rate of 1 and ½ times their Regular Rate of pay.
Deductions From Wages: Uniforms.
The employer also made illegal deductions from employees’ pay for uniforms and equipment repair that brought their wages below the federal minimum wage.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) does not allow the cost of uniforms, or other items which are considered to be primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer, to be counted as wages. If an employer makes an employee pay for his/her uniform, then the employee’s total pay minus the cost of the uniform must still reach the level of the minimum wage.
The FLSA does not require that employees wear uniforms. However, if the wearing of a uniform is required by some other law, the nature of a business, or by an employer, the cost and maintenance of the uniform is considered to be a business expense of the employer. If the employer requires the employee to bear the cost, it may not reduce the employee’s wage below the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The uniform cost also can not reduce overtime compensation required by the FLSA.
For example, if an employee is paid the minimum wage of $7.25, the employer may not make any deduction from the employee’s wages for the cost of the uniform nor may the employer require the employee to purchase the uniform on his/her own.
However, if the employee were paid $7.75 per hour [more than minimum wage] and worked 30 hours in the workweek, the maximum amount the employer could legally deduct from the employee’s wages would be $15.00 ($.50 X 30 hours). Otherwise, the deductions would reduce the pay below the minimum wage.
The employer may spread out deductions for the cost of the uniform over a period of paydays provided the prorated deductions do not reduce the employee’s wages below the required minimum wage or overtime compensation in any single workweek.
Recover Your Pay.
Employees who are owed overtime can collect (1) back wages for all “Hours Worked” and any unpaid overtime, plus (2) liquidated damages in an additional amount of the same back wages and overtime, and (3) attorney’s fees and costs.
The Ken S. Nugent, P.C. Overtime and Unpaid Wages team of attorneys can help you determine whether you are entitled to overtime pay. Our team covers the entire state of Georgia. We have eight Georgia offices ready to protect workers in not only large cities but also small towns and rural areas who are being cheated on their earned overtime. We have an office with overtime attorneys near you: Albany, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Duluth, Macon, Savannah, and Valdosta. To reach one of our overtime team of attorneys, please contact us at 1-888-579-1790 or leave us your information and questions at our Overtime and Lost Wages website practice page.