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April 13, 2005
Valet Parking Company to Pay for 'Willful' Violations

American Valet and Limousine Inc., located in Phoenix, has agreed to pay $79,255 in penalties after the Department of Labor accused the company of willful violations of both the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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In May 2004, the firm paid $66,947 in back wages to 262 employees but appealed the penalty assessment. This was the third investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division into the company's pay practices.

Wage and Hour investigators say that American Valet and Limousine made deductions from employees' hourly wages that resulted in earnings below the minimum wage. The deductions were for things such as company-mandated drug testing, uniforms, damages, lost keys, and shortages. The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees earn no less than the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime for hours worked over 40 per week. The department also alleged that the company failed to pay employees for hours spent in training and orientation and misclassified some salaried working supervisors as exempt from overtime.

The company paid the back wages in May 2004. The wages compensate employees for valet service to Bank One Ballpark, America West Arena, and local restaurants and hotels. The Wage and Hour Division previously cited the company for FLSA violations in May 1993 and March 1998.

The Wage and Hour Division recovered nearly $200 million in back wages in fiscal year 2004 for more than 288,000 workers.

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