After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Quintanilla Poultry LLC – a poultry catching company based in Manning, South Carolina – has paid $96,782 in back wages to 55 employees for overtime and recordkeeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators determined Quintanilla Poultry paid its chicken catchers a piece rate, based on the number of loads of chickens each crew caught, without regard to the number of hours that they worked. By doing so, the employer failed to pay overtime when these employees worked over 40 hours in a workweek, the WHD stated. Similar overtime violations resulted when Quintanilla Poultry paid some crew leaders a combination of fixed salaries each workweek without regard to the number of hours that they worked for supervisor duties performed and piece rates for catching and loading of chickens. The employer, according to WHD, failed to pay overtime to crew leaders when they exceeded 40 hours in a workweek. The employer also failed to maintain accurate records of the number of hours each employee worked.
“Some employers mistakenly believe that paying employees by piece rate or on a salary automatically means that they do not have to pay them overtime,” Wage and Hour District Director Jamie Benefiel said in a press release. “We encourage employers to use the many tools we offer to learn about their responsibilities under the law, and to understand the requirements for employees paid in different manners. We also encourage employers to contact us directly with questions.”
The department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
WHD's mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.