ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) at five peanut industry employers in Texas and New Mexico resulted in the recovery of $172,264 in back wages for 127 employees to remedy violations of the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD found overtime violations resulting from employers improperly rounding down the number of hours employees worked; paying straight time rates for hours beyond 40 in a workweek to overtime-eligible workers; incorrectly classifying employees as exempt from overtime and consequently failing to pay them overtime; and failing to count short rest breaks as work time, resulting in the employer failing to pay employees for all of the hours that they worked. Additionally, some of the employers failed to maintain accurate timekeeping records as required under the FLSA.
“Employers in all industries, including agriculture, must understand and comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, and must pay their workers all the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour District Director Evelyn Sanchez in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Our work ensures workers receive those wages, leveling the playing field for employers who play by the rules. We encourage workers and employers alike to use the tools we offer to educate themselves about their rights and responsibilities, and to contact us with questions.”
The following employers were included in the investigations:
- Algrano Peanut Shelling LLC locations in Portales, New Mexico, and Bledsoe, Texas;
- All Good Peanut Co. Inc. in Seminole, Texas;
- Birdsong Corp. in Brownfield, Texas;
- Severn Peanut Co. Inc. in. Portales, New Mexico; and
- Trico Peanut LLC in Seagraves, Texas.