The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan again upheld back wage computations resulting from a Department of Labor investigation against Timberline South. The court decision upheld the order for Timberline South and its manager Jim Payne to pay $878,874 in back wages and liquidated damages to 50 employees for violations of the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Gaylord, Mich.-based logging company Timberline South appealed the court’s 2017 and 2018 decisions on summary judgment which upheld the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division’s overtime calculations. The district court ruled the employer must pay the amounts as calculated by the Wage and Hour Division because Timberline South and Payne did not provide adequate records of the time employees spent in travel and taking bona fide meal breaks.
“This decision demonstrates that employers bear the responsibility to maintain accurate records of their employees’ daily and weekly hours to show that employees receive the pay they are owed by law,” Wage and Hour Division Grand Rapids, Mich., district director Mary O’Rourke said in a news release. “Employers must understand their legal obligations, and we encourage them to contact us with their compliance questions. Failing to pay employees overtime denies employees their hard-earned wages and puts employers who follow the law at an unfair disadvantage in the marketplace.”
The Wage and Hour Division initially determined Timberline South and Payne failed to pay employees, including truck drivers, equipment operators, and shop personnel, overtime when they worked beyond 40 hours in a work week. The company instead only paid “straight time” no matter how many hours employees worked, and paid various combinations of hourly rates, piece rates, and day rates. Timberline South has appealed the most recent decision.