BJ's Wholesale Club Pays 233 Employees $320,000 in Overtime Back Wages Following U.S. Labor Department Investigation
BOSTON -- BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc., based in Natick, Mass., has paid $320,000 in back wages to 233 employees for uncompensated overtime work revealed during a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.
"Both this investigation and our new Overtime Security rules reflect our commitment to protecting the overtime rights of workers," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "In this case, Club Personnel Managers weren't receiving their rightful overtime pay, and this Administration took action and restored $320,000 in back wages to 233 employees. Workers' overtime rights are further strengthened by our new Overtime Security rules, which increase protections for millions of workers by updating and clarifying the old regulations."
The investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division covered the period between Oct. 6, 2001 and Oct. 4, 2003 and found that one position in the company - that of Club Personnel Manager - was improperly classified by the employer as being exempt from overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Under the FLSA, covered workers are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.
The company owns and operates a chain of retail "club" establishments with 140 locations throughout the Northeast. A self-audit done by BJ's subsequent to the Labor Department investigation revealed that the firm employed 233 individuals in the position of Club Personnel Manager during the period covered by the investigation. It was also shown that each of these employees worked approximately five hours of overtime per week during the period.
BJ's management agreed that the 233 Club Personnel Managers were due $320,000 in overtime-back wages, and to complete the back wage payments by June 30, 2004.
The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recovered more than $212 million in back wages in fiscal year (FY) 2003, a 21 percent increase over the record-setting amount of FY 2002. Average days to resolve a complaint decreased in FY 2003 from 129 days to 108 days. WHD assessed employers nearly $10 million in civil money penalties in FY 2003.
For more information about the provisions of the FLSA, call the Department of Labor's toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243), or contact the Boston office at (617) 624-6700 or the Hartford office at (860) 240-4160. Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov.