A Memphis meat cutting and packing company will pay $127,830 in back wages and liquidated damages to 272 employees for violating overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday.
An investigation determined that Empire Packing LP – doing business as Ledbetter Packing Co. – required each of its employees working in the pork, ground beef and fillet departments to end their lunch breaks five minutes early and return to work – without pay – to wash their hands, stand in a foot bath and dress in required uniform items such as hair nets and smocks, a department of labor news release said.
The accumulation of this uncompensated time each week resulted in overtime violations for employees who worked more than 40 hours, the release added.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that employees receive wages they have legally earned for all hours they have worked,” said Division District Director Nettie Lewis, in Nashville. “The outcome of this investigation serves as a reminder to all employers to review their pay practices to confirm they are complying with the law.”
The investigation was conducted by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Ledbetter Packing Co. was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.