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
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.