US Labor Department sues Texas state agency for failing to pay 800 workers for overtime hours amounting to more than $1million in back wages

The U.S. Department of Labor today filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' Child Protective Services Division in Austin for failing to pay 800 current and former investigators and case workers overtime compensation as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). The suit seeks back wages of more than $1 million, plus liquidated damages.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. After an in-depth investigation into CPS' practices statewide, the department's Wage and Hour Division determined that the employees were working "off the clock" rather than compensated for all hours worked. Additionally, supervisors were instructing employees not to record all of their hours worked. Further, required record keeping was not maintained.

The investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's San Antonio office, covering the three-year period from June 2008 to the present, found that CPS willfully violated the FLSA by failing to pay employees for all hours worked over 40 in a week.  In 2000, the Labor Department filed a similar lawsuit against another Texas state agency.  That suit resulted in the state having to cough up $2 million to workers who had been shorted.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.