Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The U.S. Labor Department completed an extensive investigation into the pay and employment practices in 22 stores operated by the Spokane-based Rosauers supermarket chain, which has a store in Missoula.

KGVO News spoke with Carrie Aguilar, District Director for the Wage and Hour Division, Portland District office with the U.S. Department of Labor, who detailed the complaint against Rosauers.

Department of Labor Details Complaint against Rosauers

“What our investigator found was overtime violations, wherein the employer deducted for lunch breaks that were less than 30 minutes, and under the regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is the major law that our office enforces that covers most businesses in the U.S., that ensures that workers are paid at least minimum wage and get overtime for the hours that they work over 40 and also has child labor provisions in it.”

Aguilar provided more details about the labor violations.

“When this employer deducted for those breaks that were less than 20 minutes, we found that was not permissible under the law, so that time was added back to the employees’ hours for that week,” she said. “Either they were already in overtime status or it bumped them into overtime status, which means that they had worked over 40 hours in that week. So we computed the extra halftime the time and a half that they're due for the overtime hours that they weren't paid because of those unpaid breaks.”

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The Department of Labor Computed the Overtime Hours over Three Years

Aguilar said the Department of Labor computed the overtime hours over a three-year period.

“The unpaid overtime that the employer owed was computed at $175,000, and was actually $175,363.47,” she said. “So that was what was not paid to the workers in the three-year period of our investigation. So that is computed and the employer agreed to pay back. In addition, the law provides for liquidated damages, which is an equal amount that is also paid to the workers.”

The full amount paid by Rosauers was more than $350,000.

Rosauers was Fully Compliant with the Labor Department

Aguilar said the Rosauers Corporation was fully cooperative in the matter and ‘were eager to be in compliance in the future’.

“A while ago they paid the penalties, and they were entered into an enhanced compliance agreement,” she said. “They agreed to be in compliance in the future or take training. They were very cooperative. Additionally, in the overtime case, they have agreed to pay and have paid those penalties as well. They were also very cooperative during that process. They were cooperative with our investigation and they were very eager to be in compliance in the future and demonstrate that compliance.”

Click this link to learn more about the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division.

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