$106,818 in Back Wages for Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Violations by Landscape Services Company

Friday, October 19, 2012

Turf Specialties Inc. has agreed to pay $106,818 in back wages to 70 current and former landscape workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum and overtime provisions.

Investigators from the division's Lubbock Area Office found that the employees were paid a fixed, biweekly salary that in many workweeks amounted to less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Turf Specialties failed to compensate employees at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for overtime hours, that is, those worked over 40 in a workweek. Additional minimum wage and overtime violations occurred when the employer made improper deductions from employees' paychecks for uniforms, broken tools and equipment damage. Investigators also found that several employees working as "crew leaders" were improperly classified as exempt from the FLSA's overtime provision and consequently denied proper overtime compensation.

Turf Specialties, located on East Highway 80, provides residential and commercial landscaping services in the Greater Odessa and Midland areas. The company cooperated with the investigation. In addition to agreeing to pay all back wages due to the affected workers, the company committed to maintaining future compliance with the FLSA by ensuring that employees are properly classified and compensated for all hours worked.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt 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.

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