After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Huwa Enterprises, an environmental restoration company based in Keenesburg, Colo., paid $9,174 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for violating the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act while performing reclamation services on pipelines in western Pennsylvania.
Investigators determined that from Dec. 28, 2015, to Dec. 18, 2017, Huwa Enterprises, doing business as Arnold’s Custom Seeding, was a subcontractor that provided reclamation services for newly installed or replaced pipelines. Overtime violations occurred when the employer paid employees bonuses labeled as a “per diem” payment regardless of the employees’ travel status or distance from home to the worksite. For employees who did not have to travel to the job and had incurred no travel expenses, these payments did not constitute reimbursement and should have been included in the calculation when the employer determined overtime rates for these employees. Excluding these bonus payments resulted in the payment of overtime rates lower than those the law requires, according to federal investigators.
The counties in Pennsylvania in which the company performed this work included Indiana.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all the hours that they work and plus-and-a-half of their regular rates, including commissions, non-discretionary bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week.