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September 22, 2010
Department of Labor Sues Company in Overtime Suit Involving Incentives

In a BLR webinar entitled "Avoid Startling High Fines and Expensive Lawsuits Based on Failure to Pay Overtime on Bonuses," Clint D. Robison, Esq. from the Los Angeles office of Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP explained that the Department of Labor (DOL) has hired 300 new officials for auditing employers. One of the audits resulted in a lawsuit against Cemex for $5 million:

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  • The DOL sued Cemex, accusing it of failing to properly pay overtime wages to about 2,000 ready mix drivers who worked in eight states, including Texas.
  • The suit estimated that the company owed more than $5 million in back wages to its drivers.
  • The suit followed an investigation by the DOL covering the three-year period.
  • "Although the company has not admitted liability, we thought we had reached an agreement with the DOL," according to the statement. "We are disappointed that the DOL has thrown out the agreement and decided to go this avenue."
  • The Labor Department contends Cemex paid its drivers a "piece rate" based on the amount of work they did as well as an incentive bonus when they worked more than 40 hours a week.
  • The incentive payments were allegedly not included in the calculation of overtime pay, which is required under federal law, according to the lawsuit.

Clint D. Robison, Esq. is a an attorney in the Los Angeles office of Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP (www.hinshawlaw.com) and Chair of its Employment Practice Liability subgroup. He provides counseling, litigation and risk management services to medium- and large-sized public and private entities and handles all aspects of employment litigation and advice including wage and hour matters, discrimination claims, employment contracts, trade secret issues, retaliation claims, sexual harassment claims and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues.

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