Koch Foods has paid $36,038 in back wages to 69 employees and a civil penalty of $7,469 after a U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation found the poultry company violated the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at its processing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
According to a press release from the labor department, investigators determined that Koch Foods did not accurately record the total daily and weekly hours worked by some of its employees. Consequently, workers did not receive wages for all the hours they worked, and overtime violations ensued when the employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek and were not paid time-and-one-half.
"Tracking and recording workers' hours is the responsibility of the employer," said Wage and Hour Division's District Director Nettie Lewis, who is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. "The outcome of this investigation serves as a reminder to all employers to review their pay practices to ensure workers are being paid for all the hours that they work. We remain committed to ensuring that employers who comply with the law do not find themselves at a competitive disadvantage to those who do not."
This is not the first time in recent history that Koch Foods was accused of treating workers improperly. In August, the fifth largest broiler company in the United States agreed to a $3.75 million settlement in a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of 11 workers at the Koch Foods poultry plant in Morton, Mississippi. The lawsuit alleged that Koch Foods subjected Hispanic and female employees to a hostile work environment and disparate treatment based on their race and sex.
Koch Foods, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, produced 50 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2017, the same amount as 2016. Its fiscal 2017 sales were $3.3 billion.