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U.S. Department of Labor

Solon, Iowa-based E&J Electric paid $126,420 in back wages to 25 current and former employees after the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found the company had violated the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Investigations determined the company, which operates as both E&J Electric and E&J Geothermal, failed to pay employees for time spent in required travel returning to the employer's shop at the end of the workday. The employer stopped paying for workers' time when they left outlying job sites. The company incurred further overtime violations when it offered employees compensatory time off instead of overtime pay when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. According to the Department of Labor, private employees cannot offer "comp time" instead of paying for overtime work. E&J Electric also violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by destroying paper records and unintentionally deleting computer records.

“Federal law prohibits private companies from offering comp time off in lieu of wages earned, and requires companies to pay employees for time they spend traveling on behalf of the company during work hours,” Wage and Hour Des Moines, Iowa, district director Marcy Boldman said in a news release. “The Wage and Hour Division encourages employers to use the wide variety of compliance tools we offer to understand these pay requirements, and to contact us for guidance. Employers may call us and speak with a trained Wage and Hour professional about any questions they have.”