Plattner Auto Dealerships Violated Fair Labor Standards
LABELLE, FL. -- Plattner Automotive Group has agreed to pay $71,129 in back wages to employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, which determined that the company violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Sarasota, Fla.-based company, owned by Douglas Plattner operates 11 automotive dealerships in the state. The 61 employees owed back wages worked at the company's Arcadia Chevrolet, Tarpon Springs Preowned Superstore and Venice Preowned Superstore dealerships between August 2007 and August 2009. Plattner also owns the LaBelle Dodge Chrysler Jeep dealership which was not affected by this particular investigation.
"Employers are obligated to follow minimum wage and overtime rules under the FLSA, and the Wage and Hour Division is working hard to ensure that all employees receive their pay according to federal law," said James Schmidt, the division's district director in Tampa.
The division determined that the employer paid workers the required minimum wage for a set number of hours, which proved to be less than the hours actually worked. In addition, hourly employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek without receiving any overtime premium.
FLSA requires covered, nonexempt employees to be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked. The FLSA also requires that workers be paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 in a single workweek, and employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
An overtime exemption does exist for any salesman, partsman or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles or trucks, if the person is employed by a nonmanufacturing establishment primarily engaged in the business of selling such vehicles or implements to ultimate purchasers.
Typically, salespersons in a retail store are not entitled to an overtime premium. However, in order to qualify for the exemption, the following requirements must be met: (1) the employer must be a retail store, with 75% of the annual sales being retail sales; (2) the employee's regular rate of pay must exceed one and one-half times the applicable minimum wage for every hour worked; and (3) more than half of the employee's compensation must be in the form of commissions. If all of these requirements are not met, then the employer does not qualify for the retail sales exemption and an overtime premium must be paid for all hours worked over forty per week.
This investigation was conducted by the Wage and Hour Division's Tampa District Office, 4905 West Laurel St., Suite 300; telephone 813-288-1242. For more information about the FLSA, call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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