HOUSTON – Sanitation workers loading and driving waste trucks in rural Southeast Texas communities were paid a straight daily rate, even though they often worked more than 40 hours per week for a Jefferson City, Missouri-based company.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division’s recent corporate-wide investigation of Piney Woods Sanitation Inc. recovered $731,492 in back wages for 337 drivers and loaders employed in the Huntington, Texas-area for the waste hauler.

Investigators determined the employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements by paying a day rate and failing to pay time-and-one-half an employee’s required rate of pay for all hours over 40 in a work week. They identified additional overtime violations because the employer failed to include attendance and safety bonuses when calculating overtime pay.

“Failing to pay overtime denies workers’ legally earned wages and gives their employer an unfair advantage over its competitors who follow the law,” said Wage and Hour District Director Robin D. Mallett in Houston. “Failing to include bonuses paid when calculating overtime rates is an all too frequent violation of labor laws that shorts thousands of workers of their earned wages each year. The Wage and Hour Division encourages all employers to examine their pay practices and make sure they are abiding by the law and to reach out to us for compliance assistance.”

Piney Woods Sanitation manages administrative matters at its corporate office in Jefferson City, Missouri. Its Huntington location manages the company’s field-work activities in Crockett, Huntington, Livingston, Orange, Silsbee and Tyler, Texas.

Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. 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.

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