Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act consent judgment
Names of Defendants: T. R. Timber Company
Tony M. Rosenbrugh
Findings: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that T.R. Timber Company and its majority owner, Tony M. Rosenbrugh, failed to pay truck drivers and hourly employees overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week in violation of the FLSA.
Investigators determined that the company paid truck drivers on both an hourly and a piece-rate (per load) basis, and failed to calculate each driver’s rate for overtime properly. The employer paid piece-rated drivers without regard to how many hours they actually worked, as were other hourly employees who were paid based on a “fixed schedule,” despite the fact that they worked extra hours. Additionally, the company issued separate checks artificially labeled as “mileage reimbursement” to compensate some drivers for overtime hours, but at straight time rates. The division concluded that the violations were willful.
The West Branch, Michigan, logging and timber company also failed to maintain accurate payroll records, as required by law. In 2006, a division investigation disclosed overtime violations when the employer was found to pay straight time for overtime hours.
Resolution: Under terms of a consent judgment, the defendant employers have paid a total of $193,260, including $96,630 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 15 former and current employees. The defendants further agreed to provide their employees a fact sheet on the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements and to conduct a quarterly review of their pay practices to ensure ongoing compliance with the FLSA.
Quote: “T.R. Timber’s attempt to continue to circumvent wage requirements, including their practice of issuing separate checks under miscellaneous payment categories is unacceptable,” said Timolin Mitchell, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Detroit. “When employees such as those in this case are denied their overtime pay, it hurts not only the workers and their families, it also impacts their communities. The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that workers take home every penny they have rightfully earned, and to leveling the playing field for employers who play by the rules.”
Information: The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt 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. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
The FLSA provides an exemption from overtime for many individuals employed as drivers, drivers’ helpers, loaders, or mechanics. That exemption did not apply to the drivers in this investigation, who drove only locally.
Court: U.S. District Court for the District, Eastern District of Michigan
Docket Number: 1:16-cv-115, Perez v. T. R. Timber Company, Tony M. Rosenbrugh
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