In December, the U.S. Department of Labor filed suit against metro Detroit grocer, Nino Salvaggio Fruit and Vegetable Market, Inc., alleging that the Troy, St. Clair Shores and Clinton Township stores violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to compensate employees for breaks of less than 20 minutes. Federal regulations require employers to count “rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes” toward hours worked, and these periods may not be offset against other working time. The stores ultimately agreed to settle the case by paying more than $135,000 in unpaid compensation to employees for a two-year period.
Wage violations are fertile ground for litigation – particularly because successful plaintiffs can recover attorney fees and liquidated damages in addition to actual damages. Furthermore, the FLSA and related regulations contain technical record-keeping requirements that can present traps for the unwary. Employers should periodically review existing employment policies and practices to ensure legal compliance.
Please call Wright Beamer at (248) 477-6300 if you need assistance with your company’s administration of overtime policies and practices.