HONOLULU – The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $117,718 in back wages and liquidated damages to 33 workers after their employer in Hawaii recklessly denied them overtime wages they earned.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division found United Fishing Agency – a seafood trader purchasing and selling seafood to markets and restaurants in Hawaii – failed to include bonuses when calculating the employee’s overtime pay. The employer should have included the bonuses in the overtime wages because they awarded the bonuses to the workers to promote their productivity. Additionally, the employer did not keep accurate payroll records, also a Fair Labor Standards Act violation.
The investigation found the employer owed the workers $58,859 in unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. The reckless nature of the violations led the division to assess United Fishing Agency with $14,805 in civil money penalties.
“When employers compute the additional hourly half-time rate due to employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek, they must include incentive pay such as certain bonuses, shift pay and on-call pay in those calculations,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu. “Employers should take advantage of the many educational tools we offer in order to avoid costly violations such as those found in this case.”
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, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.