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).
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
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.