The W.E. Lahr Company, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based company with a nationwide
chain of retail automobile parts suppliers, has paid $131,658 in back overtime
wages to 127 employees following a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) self-audit
supervised by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Investigators from the department's Wage and Hour Division contacted the firm
and, following an explanation of the FLSA's legal requirements, the company
realized they had mistakenly classified some salaried employees as being exempt
from the FLSA's overtime requirements, according to the department.
Additionally, the firm had employed 26 sixteen- and seventeen-year-old minors
as "parts runners," which required them to operate a motor vehicle
on public roads in order to deliver parts, according to the department. The
youth employment provisions of the FLSA establish a minimum age of 18 for occupations
in which driving is a primary duty. As part of the resolution of the case, the
employer agreed to pay a civil money penalty of $17,400 for these violations.
The department says the company had no history of previous FLSA violations
and acted quickly to correct the problems, so no additional fines or penalties
The company operates the stores as Midwest Auto Parts Distributors, Champion
Auto Stores, and Bumper-to-Bumper Auto Parts.