MONTGOMERY, AL – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $26,927 in back wages and liquidated damages for 36 employees of an Alabama fast-food enterprise that allowed management at two of its Montgomery locations to deduct time worked illegally, which led to federal minimum wage and overtime violations.The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators found Checkerboard Montgomery LLC and Checkerboard Montgomery 2 LLC knowingly permitted managers to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act by doing the following:Clocking out employees while they continued working.Deducting break time from workers’ schedules whether or not they took the breaks.Deleting entire portions of shifts from the pay records. Altering timecards to reduce workers’ hours and not paying them overtime as required.In 2020, the division found wage violations by Checkerboard Foods LLC at its Rally’s locations in Bessemer and Birmingham. The enterprise also operates Rally’s franchise locations in Montgomery. In addition to the most recent recovery of back wages and damages, the division assessed the employer with $3,636 in civil money penalties for the repeated nature of its violations. “When employers act in bad faith and permit managers to alter time records to reduce labor costs, the Department of Labor will act to protect workers and other law-abiding employers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling in Birmingham, Alabama. “Willful and illegal actions such as these cannot be ignored as they deprive workers of their rights and make it more difficult for employers who follow the law to be successful.”Division investigators also learned that Checkerboard Montgomery LLC and Checkerboard Montgomery 2 LLC violated federal child labor regulations by employing six 15-year-old employees to work for more than three hours per day and more than 18 hours per week when school was in session, more than eight hours per day when school was not in session, past 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day and past 7 p.m. during the rest of the year. The division assessed the employer $5,228 in civil money penalties to address the child labor violations. “Learning new skills in the workforce is an important part of growing up – but we must protect children and ensure their first jobs are safe and do not interfere with their education or well-being,” Stripling added. “The Fair Labor Standards Act allows for developmental experiences but restricts the work hours of young workers between ages 14 and 15 and provides for penalties when employers do not follow the law.” The YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law. The operators of Checkerboard Montgomery LLC and Checkerboard Montgomery 2 LLC also own four additional Checkers and Rally’s restaurants in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.Workers and employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division confidentially at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the division, including its search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division and an overview about the FLSA protections for restaurant workers. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.
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