From the “Don’t Try This At Home” files comes the story of Alliance Property Services, Inc. and three affiliated companies. The companies, based out of Salina, NY, have been sued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for — among other things — failing to pay proper overtime to their employees.
According to the lawsuit, the workers were employed to travel to foreclosed properties across New York and neighboring states to mow lawns, winterize homes, change locks and do light construction work.
Reportedly, the employees traveled long distances and often worked more than 60 hours a week, according to Jay Rosenblum, Albany district director for the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division (WHD). But according to the DOL, the company only paid them straight time, by splitting their hours and writing checks from two different sister companies, or by paying in cash “off the books.”
Oh, and they may also have neglected to pay the last one to two weeks of work for folks who left the company. Which is a real problem, because zero dollars for a week or two’s worth of work (especially for somebody putting in up to 60 hours a week) is considerably lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
The company allegedly attempted to conceal the underpayments by not keeping records of the cash payments — or, for that matter, any records of the number of hours worked by the employees. Of course, that can lead to a records-keeping violation, which just compounds the problem.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, they apparently decided to try for the hat trick, and supposedly fired an employee for speaking to the DOL. Can you say “retaliation”? The DOL certainly can, and they included that charge in their lawsuit as well.
Of course every regular reader of this blog knows better than to get caught up in a scheme like this. But it’s still easy to run afoul of wage & hour laws — even by accident — if you don’t have accurate time records or for some reason you don’t pay according to the time records you do have.
How do you track time? And if you have more than one location or operate related companies, how do you make sure “shared” employees’ time is accounted for correctly?
If you’re frustrated by trying to track time for employees who work at multiple locations, check out AcroTime! Our affordable cloud-based subscription service includes time & attendance, payroll and HR management, and offers a number of features designed to make life easier for multi-location employers. Employees can quickly and easily clock in, no matter where they are, and all data is centrally stored and processed, making the whole process simple.