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US Govt Recovers Backpay For Employees Of Colorado-Based Ball Aerospace And Tech

Casual employees were routinely required to work through lunch periods without compensation.
by Staff Writers
Denver CO (SPX) Jul 27, 2007
The U.S. Department of Labor announced an agreement with Ball Aerospace and Technologies Inc., a Broomfield, Colo.-based aerospace defense contractor, to pay $976,327 in back wages to 904 employees at Ball facilities in Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Georgia and the District of Columbia. "The department is committed to making sure that workers are paid all the wages they are due," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "In this case, nearly $1 million in back wages will be paid to over 900 workers and the company is taking steps to ensure that workers are properly compensated in the future."

The department's Wage and Hour Division investigation found that the aerospace defense contractor had misapplied the executive exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when management changed top-tier hourly employees to salaried-exempt once an employee reached the maximum pay of the hourly scale. This change in status for senior technicians was not accompanied by any change in working conditions or professional responsibility, resulting in overtime back wages of $383,235 due 111 employees.

Additionally, hourly employees were routinely required to work through lunch periods without compensation. This second violation resulted in back wages of $593,092 due 793 employees. The employer agreed to future compliance with the FLSA and to pay all back wages found due.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week, unless otherwise exempt. Earnings may be determined on a piece-rate, salary, commission or some other basis, but in all such cases the overtime pay due must be computed based on the average hourly rate derived from such earnings. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records. The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain job duty and salary tests.

The Wage and Hour Division concluded 31,987 compliance actions and recovered more than $171 million in back wages for more than 246,000 employees in fiscal year 2006. Back-wage collections last year represent a 30 percent increase over back wages collected in fiscal 2001. The number of workers receiving back wages has increased by 14 percent since fiscal 2001.

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More Than 70 Die In Weekend Floods, Rains In South Asia
Guwahati, India (AFP) Jul 30, 2007
More than 70 people were killed after heavy rains and floods across South Asia, while over one million were left stranded by rising waters on the weekend, officials said Sunday. Several days of torrential downpours combined with melting Himalayan snow caused flooding in low lying areas of Nepal, India's northern states and neighbouring Bangladesh, with rivers expected to crest in coming days. India's northeast was among the worst affected and the army was deployed for rescue operations in Assam state on Sunday, officials said.

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