Aspen Power Pays Over $485K in Overtime Back Wages for Employee Misclassification
June 4, 2012
According to a recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) report that Vincent Howard has been following, a Texas-based bio-electric plant has paid over $485,000 in overtime back wages to workers after a WHD investigation found the company responsible for employee misclassification, and violating the record-keeping and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Aspen Power, LLC has reportedly paid $485,107 to 135 former and current production and construction workers, after the WHD investigation found that the company was responsible for misclassifying workers as independent contractors, who should have been classified as employees, covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Aspen also failed to properly maintain accurate payroll records.
The company reportedly misclassified the employees as independent contractors and compensated them with straight time wages for all time worked, rather than overtime compensation of one and one-half their regular payment rates for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek--their legally entitled right, and an FLSA requirement. According to Cynthia Watson, the DOL's Southwest regional administrator, these employees were subjected to practices that are illegal and unacceptable, working as many as 12 hours per day, seven days a week, with no overtime compensation.
As Vincent Howard has previously discussed in a Carson employment attorney blog entry, employee misclassification continues to be an alarming workplace trend. The WHD has historically found serious wage and hour violations in industries that hire vulnerable, low-wage workers, who are often unaware of their employment rights. Employee misclassification deprives workers of minimum wage and overtime wages, and forces them to cover tax payment that their employers are required to cover under federal law.
The DOL continues to be committed to ensuring that employers properly classify their workers, and that these employees receive the proper payment and employment benefits, to which they are legally entitled--which reduces wage theft, and levels the playing field for honest employers who follow wage and hour laws and regulations.
Under the FLSA, employers are required to pay covered employees $7.25 per hour for every hour worked, the federal minimum wage, plus one and one-half their normal payment rates, for hour worked beyond forty in a work week, including any bonuses, incentive payment, or commissions. Under federal law, employers also must maintain time and payroll records that are accurate.
Aspen Power has reportedly compensated all back wages that were owed to all affected employees, and has agreed to fully comply with FLSA laws in the future.
If you or someone you know have experienced violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as California Labor Codes in Orange County, California, contact Vincent Howard and our team of labor employment attorneys at Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation about your labor and employment rights. Call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.
Aspen Power in Lufkin, Texas, pays more than $485,000 in overtime back wages to 135 workers following US Labor Department investigation, The U.S. Department of Labor Press Release, May 30, 2012
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