Ninety-two current and former employees of two Indiana lawn care companies – Super Cutz Lawn Care LLC and Precision Cut Lawn Service – have received $59,926 in back wages following two investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) that found employers violated overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
In its first investigation, WHD found that Indianapolis-based Precision Cut Lawn Service misclassified some employees as managers and, as a result, erroneously considered them exempt from overtime. Precision Cut Lawn Service also paid other employees flat salaries, without regard to the number of hours they worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours per week with no additional pay. The company claimed its employees’ salaries were part of a “profit-sharing” model in which employees received individual bonuses depending on Precision Cut’s revenue during specific periods. In total, 50 employees received $31,905 in back wages.
In a second investigation, WHD found Newburgh-based Super Cutz Lawn Care LLC wrongly considered 42 employees to be independent contractors rather than employees. This error resulted in Super Cutz Lawn Care LLC failing to pay the employees overtime when they worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. In this case, Super Cutz Lawn Care LLC paid $28,021 in back wages.
In both investigations, the employers failed to maintain required records of the number of hours employees worked, resulting in recordkeeping violations.
“Too often, as in these investigations, we find employers misclassify employees as independent contractors or exempt from overtime pay because the employers don’t fully understand their obligations under the law,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Patricia Lewis, in Indianapolis. “We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance, and to make use of the many tools we provide to help them understand the law.”
This article was first published by WorkersCompensation.com.