Retailer violated Fair Labor Standards Act, according to U.S. Department of Labor
DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the national law firm of Baron & Budd announced that it is investigating cases on behalf of current and former Conn’s Appliances employees who may not have been paid all wages due to them. On August 9, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that Conn’s will pay $540,870 in back wages and liquidated damages to 1,991 employees to settle overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Current and former employees of Conn’s who have not signed a release with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) may be able to recover more unpaid wages and penalties through private FLSA and state-level claims.
Based on an investigation conducted by the DOL, it was discovered that Conn’s potentially failed to include commissions and bonuses when calculating overtime rates for some hourly employees. That resulted in an underpayment of overtime wages owed under the FLSA according to the DOL. Also, the DOL found that some expenses deducted from employee pay for uniforms and paperwork processing mistakes resulted in an underpayment of overtime wages under the FLSA.
“Employees’ time is valuable and should be fully compensated under state and federal wage laws,” said Allen Vaught, head of the Employment Law Group at Baron & Budd. “The law has been clear for a long time that commissions and performance type bonuses must be included by employers in calculating the total overtime wages owed. Furthermore, while employers may make expense deductions in some situations, those deductions cannot cut into overtime wages owed or result in an employee’s average hourly pay dropping below $7.25 per hour. We intend to fully investigate these alleged overtime violations and will work hard to ensure that any employees who were not paid fairly receive the compensation that they are owed under state or federal law.”
The DOL investigation of Conn’s involved the federal FLSA. However, employees who worked for Conn’s in certain states, such as New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, may have additional state law overtime protections. Some states, such as New Mexico, require employers to pay the employee three times the unpaid overtime wages plus legal fees and costs.
Individuals generally must have been an employee of Conn’s within the past three years to have a potential claim for unpaid wages and damages.
The maximum look-back period as stated in the FLSA is three years. In other words, if a claim was filed today, back wages and damages could be sought from August 24, 2015 forward until the end of employment or end of the wage practice in question.
Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, Conn’s Inc. (NASDAQ: CONN) is a specialty retailer that currently operates 119 locations across the U.S. The company states that it is one of the top consumer goods retailers in the country, with more than $1 billion in revenue and more than 4,500 employees across the southern United States.
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