In a stark reminder that the Fair Labor Standards Act () carries personal liability, three executives at Belton-based High Performance Ropes of America were convicted of felonies for their part in a scheme to exploit undocumented workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) ordered the company to pay $165,356 in overtime, back wages and liquidated damages to 31 employees (plus another $20,000 in court-ordered fines) after determining the company had committed willful and repeat felony FLSA violations.
But then a court convicted the company owner, a plant manager and an office manager on separate felony counts.
WHD investigations found that High Performance Ropes failed to pay undocumented workers for overtime hours, submitted false payment evidence to the DOL and kept a second set of time records hidden from investigators.
Other company officials received jail time and probation for aiding and abetting illegal re-entry into the United States and withholding information about a crime.