ATHENS, GA – Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor sometimes find employers that illegally pay straight-time wages for overtime hours in an effort to curb operating costs. Far less often they find what the operator of two Athens tobacco and liquor stores was doing – paying workers even less than their normal hourly rate of pay for their overtime hours.
A recent investigation of Nu Age Horizon LLC – operator of Westside Bottle Shop and Northside Bottle Shop – by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer failed to pay workers time-and-a-half their regular rates of pay for overtime hours. Instead, the employer paid workers for overtime hours at rates even lower than the employees’ regular rates of pay, often in unrecorded cash. Investigators also determined the employer failed to keep accurate records of the number of hours employees worked each week, with records not reflecting any hours beyond 40.
For violating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and recordkeeping standards, the division cited Nu Age Horizon and found the employer owed $71,467 in back wages to 56 workers.
“Retail workers are among the lowest-paid essential workers that have kept our economy moving forward,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta. “They depend on their wages to care for themselves and their families. Nu Age Horizon’s failures to abide by the law shortchanges its workers and gives the employer an unfair competitive advantage over those who abide by the law. We will hold employers who choose not to pay workers properly accountable, and ensure that workers take home every penny of their hard-earned wages.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, and use its search tool if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.