Travel bonus not deemed to be compensation

Texas employers may not be able to deduct travel bonuses from damages assessed if they violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. This was the decision reached by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. An investigation into the pay practices of Mountain Masonry revealed that 112 workers were not paid overtime rates when they worked more than 40 hours a week.

Instead, they were paid at their regular rate, which meant that they had lost out on $98,198.11 in back wages between October 2013 and June 2016. Workers were also given $3 an hour for hours worked at remote job sites, which was given to them in a separate check. The company deemed these to be a travel bonus or per diem payment. Since the payments were not intended to be compensation, it was ruled that the company couldn't deduct them from back wages owed.

Furthermore, the payments were not considered to be compensation because they were given to workers who were on the road as opposed to those who worked more than 40 hours per week. According to the FLSA, employers who fail to pay the proper overtime rate must pay the actual amount owed plus liquidated damages. The liquidated damages are equal to the amount that workers were owed in back pay.

Workers who are not compensated properly may be entitled to back pay and other damages. This may be true for those who are not paid a minimum wage or who don't receive overtime pay pay when it is earned. An attorney may use pay stubs, logs and other information to verify that individuals worked more than 40 hours in a week without getting paid for it.

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