Arizona Pipeline to pay $750,000 in back wages following Labor Department investigation

Underground utility contractor Arizona Pipeline has agreed to pay $750,000 in overtime back wages after an investigation by the Department of Labor. The investigation covered a two-year period beginning in November 2007, and found the company to be in violation of the overtime and recordkeeping provisions set by the Fair Labor Standards Act. 740 employees were found to have been affected.

The department determined that the company had committed numerous infractions, including not paying employees for the time they spent on pre- and post-shift duties associated with their jobs, such as loading materials and cleaning trucks. Travel time was not compensated, and 30 minutes for lunch was always taken out of their pay even though many took shorter breaks or skipped lunch all together. Additionally, the company held mandatory monthly meetings, for which workers were not paid.

"There is no excuse to deny workers the wages they have worked hard to earn," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Cheating workers out of time spent on the job - whether performing work-related tasks, traveling or attending a meeting - is unacceptable."

Jeans manufacturer Levi Strauss recently agreed to pay over a million dollars in back wages to almost 600 of its employees as a result of a similar investigation.

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