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July 26, 2007
Aerospace Firm Settles Complaint Over Use of Executive Exemption

Ball Aerospace and Technologies Inc. has agreed to pay $976,327 in back wages to 904 employees after the Department of Labor accused the company of misapplying the executive exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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The department's Wage and Hour Division investigation alleged that the aerospace defense contractor, which is based in Broomfield, Colorado, had misapplied the executive exemption when management changed top-tier hourly employees to salaried-exempt once an employee reached the maximum pay of the hourly scale. This change in status for senior technicians was not accompanied by any change in working conditions or professional responsibility, resulting in overtime back wages of $383,235 due 111 employees, the department said.

The department also alleged that hourly employees were routinely required to work through lunch periods without compensation. This second violation resulted in back wages of $593,092 due 793 employees.

The company has facilities in Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Georgia, and the District of Columbia.

The department's Wage and Hour Division concluded 31,987 compliance actions and recovered more than $171 million in back wages for more than 246,000 employees in fiscal year 2006. Back-wage collections last year represent a 30 percent increase over back wages collected in fiscal year 2001. The number of workers receiving back wages has increased by 14 percent since 2001.

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