A Las Vegas limousine company is learning a lesson about how to calculate employee wages and tips. After conducting a lengthy investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor is fining Executive Las Vegas, which operates a limo and shuttle bus service, $232,000.
The fine is the result of an investigation that uncovered improper payroll deductions made by Executive Las Vegas prior to the end of 2014. Records showed that the company deducted certain expenses from employee paychecks for items like badges, drug tests, fuel and uniforms that should have been the responsibility of the employer. Moreover, officials from the Las Vegas division of the U.S. Department of Labor concluded that Executive relied on improper calculations to figure their minimum wage obligations. These errors meant that nearly 500 employees did not receive at least federal minimum wage for their work over the course of several weeks in 2014.
Federal law stipulates a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Because employees of Executive routinely receive tips as a result of the services they provide, the law permits the company to pay a minimum wage of $2.13 per hour as long as tips given are sufficient to add up to an hourly minimum of $7.25. The Department of Labor believes that Executive failed on numerous occasions to correctly calculate these numbers.
Jim Jimmerson, who is partial owner of Executive and an attorney, insists that the accounting errors were not intentional, but rather simple mistakes. He also points out evidence uncovered in the investigation which showed that employees tend to have “deliberately underreported their tips in order to create a false claim of entitlement to minimum wage.”
Situations such as this one and others like it demonstrate how important it is for employers to have dependable legal counsel working for them. With the advice and guidance of an attorney, it’s possible for employers to avoid costly mistakes like the ones committed by Executive.