PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently filed suit against an Arizona electrical contractor over allegations the defendant failed to comply with proper record-keeping and overtime pay rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
It is the third such federal investigation against the defendant, Avondale-based Austin Electric Service, in five years over wage theft and other violations.
DOL investigators from the Wage and Hour Division allege Austin Electrical Service committed violation of the FLSA when it told its electricians to record only 40-hours on their timesheets no matter how many hours they worked during the week.
According to DOL investigators, this constituted a willful violation of the FLSA.
The defendant allegedly paid its electricians a piece rate, meaning they were compensated a flat rate for the entire job performed, rather than on an hourly basis.
While federal wage laws do allow employers to pay their employees in this manner, there are strict guidelines that must be adhered to when compensating employees in this manner.
Federal Piece Rate Pay Laws
Under the FLSA, piece rate workers are still entitled to overtime payments of one and a half times their regular pay rate if their hourly rate is below the standard. Federal laws hold the hourly wage of piece rate workers must be equal to the prevailing wage in the industry. Hourly rates for piece rate workers are calculated by taking the job’s pay and dividing it by the total number of hours worked.
DOL guidelines on establishing piece rates hold the employer should take several steps to determine the proper piece rate, including:
- Creating a job description: Define specific job duties, responsibilities and general tasks
- Performing a task analysis: Develop an accurate picture of the method and procedures used to accomplish the tasks
- Choosing a standard setter: Find a staff member who is familiar with and qualified to perform the task at hand
- Timing the standard setter: Observe and record how long the standard setter takes to perform the assignment and set piece rates on that analysis
Pieceworker Overtime Pay Lawsuits
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that you and and other employees believe that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.