Company didn’t pay workers for prep work or travel time. It owes $86,000 in back pay

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UPDATE FROM MARCH 14: Jack Field emailed a reply that “Eagle Painting faced this back pay award as a result of a conflict in state and federal statues regarding the definition of employee versus subcontractors. Due to the misunderstanding, Eagle was not issued any penalties or fines regarding this incident. Eagle paid all back wages and is currently in compliance, and in good standing with all federal, state and local agencies.”

A painting company from Sunrise owes workers $86,530 in back pay after a hat trick of federal pay violations, the Department of Labor stated.

That back pay will go to 25 employees of J & J Inc., which operates as Eagle Painting. That’s $3,461.20 per employee of the company founded and run by Jack Field and Janet Field.

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In its announcement, the Department of Labor said J & J, which says has been in business since 1992, made some basic boo-boos:

“Incorrectly classified the majority of its employees as independent contractors, paying them a straight-time rate for all hours worked, which resulted in overtime violations when the employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek,” Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigators found.

J & J had employees start their days by loading equipment into trucks and vans before heading to work sites. But the company didn’t count that as the start of the workday.

After loading the equipment, workers rolled to work sites, Labor said. But J & J didn’t count those rides as the start of the workday, either.

J & J didn’t start the pay clock until workers got to the work sites. Combining the loading-up and the heading-over time, Labor said, and that surpassed 40 workweek hours.

“The law requires employers to pay workers for all the hours they work, including any time spent working before or after scheduled shifts, or traveling between job sites during the workday,” Miami-based Wage and Hour Division District Director Tony Pham said in a statement.1

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.