WEST COLUMBIA, SC – When federal investigators inspected a West Columbia used auto dealer, they found the employer’s pay practices violated wage laws, leading to the recovery of more than $64,566 in back wages and liquidated damages for 24 workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found B & L Foreign Car LLC – operating as B & L Auto Sales – paid employees straight-time rates for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, rather than the time-and-one-half required. Investigators also discovered the employer had misclassified some workers as independent contractors and, in fact, led the workers to wrongly believe classification as a contractor or employee was optional.

B & L’s actions violated overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Misclassifying workers as independent contractors denies them the minimum wage and overtime protections they are due. It also has consequences regarding Social Security and other benefits,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina. “The outcome of our investigation at B & L Auto Sales should remind other employees in the industry that ignoring their legal obligations comes at a high cost. The employer may also find it becomes harder to retain and recruit workers they desperately need.”

View an online FLSA guide that outlines the difference between employees and independent contractors or view this page to see how FLSA might apply to the auto industry. A compliance assistance toolkit with many resources for the auto industry is also available.

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 and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) confidentially, and calls can be answered in more than 200 languages.

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