ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Employers may request that workers arrive before their shifts begin for briefings but workers must be paid for that time, a lesson that a New Mexico community college learned after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $70,707 in back wages for 71 security guards at Central New Mexico Community College following an investigation that uncovered violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements. The division found that the college required security guards to arrive at work 15 minutes before their shifts for a briefing but systemically failed to record or pay for that time, which led to overtime violations. Failure to record this work time also resulted in the employer being cited for a recordkeeping violation.

“Employers who require employees to show up early or stay at work after their shift has ended for briefings are legally required to pay them for that time,” said Wage and Hour District Director Evelyn Sanchez in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “As essential workers, security guards deserve to be paid for the hours they work. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to protecting the wages of all workers and ensuring that employers can compete on a level playing field.”

Based in Albuquerque, Central New Mexico Community College is the largest community college in New Mexico, and has nine locations in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho metro areas.

 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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