East Penn disputes overtime lawsuit
The U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against East Penn Manufacturing in Lyon Station for alleged overtime and recordkeeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In response, East Penn issued a statement that the claims are without merit and that the company has fully cooperated with the Department of Labor’s review of East Penn’s employee payment practices under the federal overtime and recordkeeping laws.
According to a Department of Labor release issued on March 20, the Department’s Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation that found the battery manufacturer failed to pay employees for all hours worked. The Department states that employees were not paid for time spent putting on protective clothing after clocking in
and removing that protective clothing and showering before clocking out, time which is compensable under the law and failure to pay for these hours violates overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that employees receive the wages they have earned for all the hours they have worked,” said Alfonso Gristina, Wage and Hour Division District Director in Wilkes-Barre, in the release. “The legal action in this case demonstrates the Department’s commitment to workers, and to leveling the playing field for employers that comply with the law.”
The suit seeks back wages and damages for more than 6,900 employees for willful violations of the FLSA, and an order permanently enjoining
the company from violating the FLSA in the future. The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and onehalf their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week, according to the Department of Labor release.
In response to the lawsuit, East Penn issued a statement, “East Penn Manufacturing Co., for the past 2 years, has fully cooperated with the Department of Labor’s review of East Penn’s employee payment practices under the Federal overtime and record-keeping laws. East Penn, which employs over 7,000 employees in Berks County, has a long history of providing competitive wages and benefits for employees and their families. East Penn believes that the company has complied with the Federal laws, and were surprised when the Labor Department filed its
East Penn reports that the Department of Labor did not give advance notice to East Penn, filed its lawsuit without providing the company with a copy at the time of filing, and issued a press release on March 20 without notifying East Penn.
“East Penn believes the claims are without merit and intends to vigorously defend the Department’s allegations,” according to the East Penn statement. “While the company would like to comment more on the substance of the Department’s charges and the way the Department has treated East Penn, because this is now in litigation, the company is currently not in a position to comment.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http:// www.dol.gov/whd.