Companies often use temporary staffing services to address seasonal staffing needs. While this need may be legitimate, the use of a staffing firm does not absolve the employer from liability for unpaid overtime. Federal and state law provides that temporary workers have the same overtime rights as permanent workers. The law is clear that unless employees’ job duties fall into certain narrowly interpreted exemptions, employees are entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week. A federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are liable to employees for their back wages and an additional equal amount in liquidated damages. If overtime litigation proceeds to a lawsuit, employers may also be required to pay the employees’ attorneys’ fees and costs.
When a company obtains workers through a staffing firm, the company can still be liable for overtime wages and other damages, even though the staffing firm directly pays the employees. The Department of Labor (DOL) recently reported that it has reached agreements with J&J Snack Foods Corp., a Pennsuaken, NJ based manufacturer and distributor of popular food and beverages which sells it products nationwide at stadiums and arenas; department, chain and convenience stores; discount and warehouse clubs; theme parks; movie theatres; schools and colleges; and retail supermarkets.
In the most recent J&J Snack agreement, the DOL assessed a $20,000 civil penalty for the willful, repeat nature of the violations found in the latest investigation in New Jersey. Earlier this year, the department found that J&J and Pennpak, a staffing firm that provided workers at the J&J facility in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, failed to pay their workers at least the federal minimum wage and overtime. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found J&J and wo different staffing firms denied minimum wage and overtime pay to workers as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act. As a result, J&J has agreed to pay a total of more than $2.1 million in back wages and liquidated damages to 677 workers. The Department of Labor’s press release is available here, http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20151976.htm
Abramson Employment Law represents employees who have FLSA claims for unpaid wages and overtime pay. For more information see http://www.job-discrimination.com/lawyer-attorney-1126494.html