The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment ordering Los Angeles home furnishings business Dahdoul Textiles Inc. to pay 57 current and former employees $130,000 in back wages, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages, which totals $260,000.
Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division found willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions at the company’s Los Angeles retail store located at 1049 S. Los Angeles St. and at a warehouse located at 7200 Bandini Blvd. in Commerce.
The investigation established that employees were paid straight time for all hours worked and did not receive an overtime premium for hours worked beyond 40 per week, as required by the FLSA. The employer also maintained two separate timekeeping systems to conceal employees’ work hours.
“The Wage and Hour Division is focused on not just recovering what is rightfully due to workers, but also preventing employers from breaking the law in the future,” said Kimchi Bui, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Los Angeles District Office. “The fact that we were able to recover double the original wages owed to the workers serves as a warning to employers, who try to skirt the law, that they may face serious financial consequences.”
In addition to requiring the payment of the back wages along with damages, the consent judgment enjoins the defendants from violating the FLSA in the future and requires them to pay $10,000 in civil money penalties. Under the consent judgment, Dahdoul Textiles is required to provide annual employee training on federal labor laws and must display a notice of the department’s findings in both English and Spanish in areas highly visible to employees.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as one and one-half times their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.
Dahdoul Textiles is a retail and wholesale business that sells comforters, blankets, rugs and various home furnishing items.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the department was represented by its regional Office of the Solicitor in Los Angeles. For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Los Angeles office at 213-894-6375. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.