Fifty-five low-wage production workers who spent long work days sewing and loading mattresses at a Passaic mattress refurbishment company will receive their share of $292,998 in back wages and liquidated damages after the company entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”).
The agreement resolves the DOL’s investigation of Citi Mattress Inc., which found the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by not paying the production workers proper overtime pay when they worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.
“The outcome in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the nation’s vulnerable, low-wage workers from exploitation,” said a DOL spokesman. “This agreement guarantees that the workers will be compensated properly for all of the hours they worked and provides added safeguards to protect employees in the future.”
In addition to paying the back wages and damages, the company must take the following measures to ensure future compliance with the FLSA:
- Use a time clock or other automated timekeeping system.
- Permanently display the poster “Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” in English and Spanish.
- Provide information about the FLSA to current and new employees in English and Spanish.
- Maintain proper time records for all employees.
- Provide non-exempt employees with a statement reflecting the hours worked for each day in the workweek and total hours each workweek.
Another DOL spokesman added, “Employers have a legal responsibility to pay employees the proper wages.”
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records. Employers who violate the law are liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Both back wages and liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.