The U.S. Department of Labor has been busy this year investigating violations of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and has filed lawsuits in both Texas and Massachusetts seeking back wages and liquidated damages on behalf of employees.

In Texas, the suit is against The Christmas Light Co. Inc. to recover almost $250,000 in back wages, liquidated damages, and an injunction to prevent future violations of the FLSA, on behalf of 233 employees who installed and removed Christmas lights for the company. The suit arose following an investigation which revealed The Christmas Light Co. Inc. paid employees a flat rate for installing and removing Christmas lights, without regard to the number of hours the employees actually worked. Additionally, employees were paid “straight time” instead of overtime at time and one-half, for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week. The Christmas Light Co. Inc. also ran into problems for failing to maintain accurate time and payroll records as required by the FLSA.

In Massachusetts, the DOL is seeking at least $500,000 in back wages and liquidated damages from Boston Hides & Furs Ltd. The investigation of Boston Hides & Furs Ltd. determined the company committed willful and repeated violations of the FLSA, specifically not paying minimum wage, not paying overtime and not keeping appropriate records. The company had at least 14 employees who worked approximately 10 hours per day, six days a week, and were paid between $50-$70 per day.

As the year comes to a close, now is a good time to conduct an FLSA audit and make sure you are paying your employees correctly and maintaining the required documentation.