Talk about embarrassing: A California-based HR consulting company will pay $1 million in back overtime wages and damages combined to hundreds of employees after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation that found widespread Fair Labor Standards Act violations.  

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division cited TriNet Human Resources Corp. for failing to pay time-and-a-half to 267 employees who worked more than 40 hours per week. As a result, the company will pay back pay wages and damages to workers in amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $13,000 for one worker. The division also assessed $58,000 in civil penalties for the violations.

Apparently, the company tripped up on the cardinal rule of classifying employees: Simply putting an employee on salary doesn’t mean that employee’s ineligible for OT.

“TriNet falsely believed that raising an employee’s salary exempted them from receiving overtime pay,” Susana Blanco, the division’s Wage and Hour director in San Francisco, said in a press release. “Hopefully, the company will now pay better attention to the rules going forward and pay its employees the wages they earned.”

In 2012, the company paid $326,000 in back wages and damages after the division found similar violations, according to the DOL.

TriNet, headquartered in San Leandro, CA, provides human resources outsource solutions to small and midsize businesses, the DOL said. It offers payroll processing, human capital consulting, employment law compliance and employee benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans and workers compensation insurance.

Can’t imagine this DOL settlement will be much of a boost to the company’s payroll business.


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