DoL: Torque Converter Maker Docked Pay from Employees' Work Breaks

An Iowa manufacturer will have to pay nearly $280,000 in backwages to 150 employees.

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NEW HAMPTON, IA — After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Precision of New Hampton Inc. – based in New Hampton, IA — will pay 150 employees a total of $279,505 in back wages for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

DownloadThe WHD investigation found the manufacturer of torque convertors violated the FLSA by deducting breaks shorter than 30 minutes from employees’ pay as lunch breaks. The FLSA requires employers to pay for short rest breaks, usually 20 minutes or less, as work time. Meal periods, typically 30 minutes or longer, may be unpaid as long as workers are completely relieved of job duties during that time.

“Employers must provide a minimum of 30 minutes for a bona fide meal break if they intend to deduct the time from an employee’s time records. They must also ensure that employees do not perform work during that time," said Wage and Hour District Director Marcy Boldman, in Des Moines, IA. “The Department of Labor works to ensure employers comply with federal law so that every employee receives the wages they have rightfully earned. We encourage employers to use the wide variety of tools we offer to educate themselves and to ensure they comply with the law. We invite any worker or employer to call us with questions about their rights or responsibilities.”

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