Georgia chemical contract packager Apollo Industries has been charged with paying over 190 employees standard time for overtime hours worked, instead of overtime, which in the state of Georgia is time and a half the hourly rate of pay after 40 hours worked in a week, as well as not recording other hours worked via a time clock device or similar measure, resulting in multiple minimum wage violations.
The lawsuit seeks to recover minimum wages and overtime compensation which date back to 2012 and include liquidated damages could reach several hundred thousand of dollars far exceeding the time clock price that would have assured Apollo management compliance with the law, thus avoiding the expense and unbearable effort involved in mitigation.
Many minimum wage and overtime violations are often honest mistakes caused by improper record keeping that would be avoided by using a simple and inexpensive time clock system, time cards, or online payroll service that includes time clock software . Repeat violators face fines up to $10,000 and may face imprisonment for additional violations. The US Department of Labor requires companies to maintain accurate time and payroll records and to comply with the hours worked.
In specific situations, employers may be within the law to pay employees less than minimum wage. One such example is the allowance for tipped employees. Per this exemption, employers can pay employees below the minimum wage so long as the tips earned when added to the hourly wage paid, average at least the minimum wage.
This was not the case for Apollo Industries as they do not employee any tipped employees.
Eric Williams, Director of the DOL Atlanta District Office said “This case demonstrates that the agency will use every enforcement tool available, including litigation, to ensure a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
With states raising minimum wage in many cases considerably higher than the federally mandated wage, and the DOL increasing enforcement and litigation for even first time offenders, the only defense a company has is proper record keeping and that starts with an electronic time clock system.