Belle Tire has agreed to pay more than $300,000 in back wages to about 1,200 employees.
A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation determined Belle Tire violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when the company failed to include incentive bonuses and sales commissions employees earned when calculating their overtime payment. This happened at 100 locations in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, according to the Department of Labor.
Instead, Belle Tire paid workers time-and-one-half of their base rates without considering the amounts by which these bonuses and commissions had boosted employees’ straight-time earnings. The violation affected non-exempted employees including – but not limited to – tire technicians, mechanics, sales staff, mobile auto glass mechanics and those offering roadside assistance.
“Wage violations can be avoided when employers understand the requirements under federal labor law. Belle Tire is now training its store managers, supervisors, and payroll personnel to ensure they compute overtime properly and employees receive the wages they have rightfully earned,” said Timolin Mitchell, wage and hour district director in Detroit. “This employer remained very cooperative during the investigation and the company wants to ensure compliance at all their locations. We encourage all employers to contact the Division for guidance and assistance to avoid violations.”
In a statement on its Facebook page, Belle Tire said it was unaware that it calculated employee overtime payments incorrectly until the investigation.
“When the Department of Labor brought the matter to our attention, we cooperated and worked with them to understand what is required and ensured that it be resolved quickly for impacted employees,” the statement said. “One of our core beliefs is to do the right thing whether for our customers or employees. Once we understood how it should be calculated, that is exactly what we did.”