WYNNE, Ark. (U.S. Dept. of Labor) - The Wynne Police Department will pay $150,085 in back wages and liquidated damages to 24 uniformed officers to resolve a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor for alleged violations of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
"The FLSA provides that employers must pay their employees for all hours worked," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour division in the Southwest. "Failing to record all the time employees work, and failing to pay proper overtime compensation, is illegal and unacceptable. As demonstrated in this case, the Labor Department will use all enforcement tools available, including litigation and the assessment of liquidated damages, to ensure employees receive the wages they have rightfully earned."
A consent judgment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Eastern Division, following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's Jonesboro Field Office, which found overtime and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Investigators determined that the Wynne Police Department failed to pay employees for all hours worked, and failed to pay the proper overtime premium to officers who worked beyond 86 hours in a two-week work period. Additionally, the police department failed to maintain records as required by the FLSA.
The judgment, which is subject to approval by a district court judge, requires the Wynne Police Department to not only pay the back wages and liquidated damages, but also to be enjoined from future violations of the FLSA. Further, the Wynne Police Department must participate in a compliance assistance and training program where the Wage and Hour Division will train employees on the application of the FLSA. That training will be presented to all current managers, supervisors and uniformed officers, as well as to all new hires within 60 days of hire. In 2012, the Wynne Police Department paid $27,500 in civil money penalties for repeat violations, resolving a separate case filed with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Administrative Law Judges.
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. Fire departments or police departments may establish a work period ranging from seven to 28 days, in which overtime need be paid only after a specified number of hours in each work period. Employers are also required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Little Rock District Office at 501-223-9114. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor)