Human Resources News & Insights

Is DOL now ordering firms to fire managers for pay mistakes?

Recognizing that employees’ direct managers and supervisors play a major role in many wage-and-hour violations, the Department of Labor (DOL) took a very aggressive step recently.  

The agency essentially instructed one employer to fire any managers who allowed off-the-clock work to take place.

‘Off-the-clock’ work

The employer we’re referring to is Cintas Fire Protection Services.

According to a DOL investigation of the company, Cintas didn’t pay its fire sprinkler installers and testers for the work they did that wasn’t billable to the company’s clients.

These workers would often check email, complete reports and fill out timesheets during “off the clock” hours. Because the company was cited several times in the past for similar violations, the DOL came down hard on Cintas.

In addition to ordering the company to pay $1.3 million in unpaid wages and damages to 81 employees, Cintas was hit with $44,500 in civil penalties.

But that’s not all. The company was required to organize a nationwide compliance team to prevent these FLSA violations from taking place in the future. And if violations are found, the DOL made Cintas agree “… to terminate managers who allow off-the-clock work to occur.”

Must be paid for …

This is a drastic and unusual step for the DOL.

Let managers and supervisors know the DOL is cracking down on unpaid work time and encouraging firms to take drastic measures against managers who aren’t doing what they should to make sure staffers’ hours are calculated correctly.

You may also want to remind managers that hours worked includes travel between worksites, mandatory training and time spent on administrative and other tasks.

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