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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Tuesday, January 01, 2019 03:00 PM

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Kingsport Auto Dealer Forced To Pay $50K In Back Wages After Department Of Labor Investigation

KINGSPORT - An auto dealership in Kingsport paid over $50,000 in employee back wages after a Department of Labor investigation discovered the business violated minimum wage and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.)

Rick Hill Imports Inc. paid $58,739 to employees in back wages following the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division's (WHD) investigation.

WHD discovered that the business, which specializes in BMWs and Mercedes vehicles, failed to pay sales personnel during workweeks where they sold no vehicles. This caused employee wages to fall below the minimum wage for the pay period. The business also required employees to attend vehicle manufacture certification training and employees received no compensation for those hours worked.

According to the Department of Labor, the business also failed to record hour worked by its employees and to have the FLSA poster displayed in areas where employees worked. Both are violations of the recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA.

“A commission-based pay practice does not alleviate an employer’s responsibility to pay its employees at least the minimum wage rate for all hours worked,” said Nettie Lewis, Wage and Hour Division District Director in Nashville. “We encourage all employers to review their pay practices and contact the Wage and Hour Division for compliance assistance. Doing so can help ensure all employees are paid properly and that all employers operate on a level playing field.”