BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Editors Note: The original article was first posted on December 17, 2015 by Metro News – West Virginia.
After being subjected to an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division, DCI/Shires Inc. a construction and excavation company based in Mercer County was found to have neglected the overtime pay of 19 workers, according to Metro News – West Virginia.
Robert Deeb and Timothy Shires, the respective president and vice president of DCI/Shires Inc., allegedly failed to maintain accurate time records for their employees so they could avoid paying workers the standard 150% overtime wage for hours worked above 40 per 7-day work week.
When the DOL Wage and Hour Division began their investigation they discovered that according to company records, no employee ever worked more than 40 hours per work week. However, the investigation later discovered that employees frequently worked more than 40 hours per week but those hours were paid through separate checks with compensation only coming in the form of standard-time rates.
The investigation resulted in a consent judgement filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Under the agreement, DCI/Shires and its executives will pay $49,000 in overtime back wages in addition to $49,000 in damages and $7,100 in civil money penalties.
The Pittsburgh division of the DOL Wage and Hour Division conducted the investigation with John DuMont, Pittsburgh district director issuing the following statement:
“We will use every enforcement tool at our disposal to ensure a fair and level playing field for employers, and to ensure that workers are paid the money they have rightfully earned.”
Labor Laws For West Virginia Workers
West Virginia labor laws typically follow suit with federal laws defined under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) with some exceptions regarding minimum wage requirements and other minor discrepancies.
As of July 2016, the West Virginia minimum wage rests at $8.75 per hour, more than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour enacted in 2009. Unlike many other states, West Virginia retains an exceptionally high minimum wage for tip-eligible employees with a standard rate of $5.80 per hour for all employees as long as their wage and tips would total an average of $7.25 per hour.
Unless an employee is properly classified as overtime exempt, the FLSA requires that employees working over 40 hours per week must be paid a rate of 150% their standard pay for all hours worked over 40.
Hours including “off-the-clock” duties, breaks in which an employee is not fully relieved of duties, and any actions which provide a direct benefit to a company must be included when reporting employee time records.
For instance, if a non-exempt employee works 40 hours per week but is tasked with 30 minutes of pre/post-shift requirements per shift, that time must be included in their time sheets. In this situation, an employee would be entitled to 2.5 hours of overtime pay per week totaling $13.13 an hour if making minimum wage.
Employers often manipulate time sheets by failing to record “off-the-clock” duties or spreading out overtime hours to proceeding weeks to avoid paying their employees their just overtime benefits. If a past or current employer has engaged in deceptive wage practices, a wronged employee may be eligible to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for previously withheld wages.
To determine if you were a victim of state of federal labor law violations, call (855) 754-2795 today.