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February 11, 2004
Divers Find $176K in Back Pay

Bisso Marine Co. Inc. in New Orleans has paid $176,724 in back overtime wages to 25 current and former divers after U.S. Department of Labor investigators the said they found the company failed to pay the appropriate overtime wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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The investigation concluded that Bisso Marine, an offshore marine construction and salvage company, failed to pay their divers premium rates for overtime hours because they considered them seamen and, as such, exempt from overtime. In addition, Bisso Marine believed that since their divers were paid hourly rates higher than other divers in the industry, there was no need to pay premium pay for overtime hours.

The department says Bisso Marine cooperated with the investigation and has agreed to future compliance. All back wages have been paid to the employees.

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recovered more than $212 million in back wages in fiscal year (FY) 2003--a 21 percent increase over the record setting amount in FY 2002, according to the department.

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