Dallas-based Nieman Printing thought it had it all figured out when it hired two temp agencies to employ the same workers doing the same work, but on different days. Employees worked for one temp agency on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thursday through Sunday they worked for the other agency, using separate time clocks.
The strategy: Keep workers from ever putting in more than 40 hours per week for one employer. Desired result: No overtime pay!
It didn’t work. Department of Labor (DOL) investigators saw through the charade. Now Nieman has agreed to settle the case, paying $96,335 in back overtime to 101 employees—plus a civil penalty of $26,000 for willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Note: When it comes to pay shenanigans, the DOL has seen it all. Employers that try elaborate schemes to avoid overtime usually wind up having to pay much more than they would have saved cheating workers.
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