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Florida Grocer Required to Pay $900K in Back Wages

Labor Department finds La Primavera Supermarket workers owed overtime pay
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Grocery worker
Workers at a La Primavera Supermarket store were awarded back pay for misclassified overtime hours.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced this week that it has recovered $901,625 in back wages and liquidated damages for workers at a La Primavera Supermarket in Florida.

More than 75 store employees were affected when La Primavera Store, Inc., which operates in Sarasota, Fort Pierce and Bradenton, Fla., wrongly categorized the workers as overtime exempt. As a result, associates didn’t receive their due time-and-a-half rate for working beyond 40 hours during the week. 

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“Employers who misapply exemptions and deny hard-working people all of their earned wages make it harder for workers to provide for themselves and their families,” said Daniel Cronin, the Labor Department’s Miami-based wage and hour division district director. “Under federal law, employers are responsible for making sure they comply with regulations that protect workers’ rights to their full wages, benefits and protections.”

Agency investigators also determined that the store violated federal child labor laws by illegally hiring two 15-year-old employees to work longer shifts and outside of regulated hours. 

“The Fair Labor Standards Act allows for developmental experiences but limits the work hours of 14- and 15-year-old workers and provides for penalties when employers do not follow the law,” noted Cronin.

In related news, the Labor Department shared its final rule earlier this month clarifying the differences between employees and independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule offers employers and employees clearer guidance on proper classifications, to help prevent future issues with pay and wages. 

“Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is a serious issue that deprives workers of basic rights and protections,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. “This rule will help protect workers, especially those facing the greatest risk of exploitation, by making sure they are classified properly and that they receive the wages they’ve earned.” 

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