WHEELING. W. Va. — The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia has ordered a Bridgeport company and its owner to pay $817,902 in back wages and damages stemming from an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
The recent federal court order requires Fire & Safety Investigation Consulting Services LLC, which provides onsite safety and environmental consulting services to the oil and gas industry, and its owner to pay back wages for 70 of its employees who did not receive overtime pay. A WHD investigation found that Harris had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The WHD probe said Harris' company had paid the employees a "hitch rate," a fixed amount of pay every two weeks regardless of how many hours they actually worked. The pay practice created overtime violations after employees worked more than 40 hours in a week but were not paid overtime, plus their flat rate, the WHD said.
"Just because a pay practice appears to be common within an industry does not mean that it complies with the law," WHD district director John DuMont said in a statement. "Simply paying employees a salary does not necessarily mean they are not due overtime. We encourage all employers to review their pay practices and to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance."