Mattress retailer ordered to pay back wages to 96 employees

Bedding retailer Mattress Direct of Baton Rouge, La., agreed to pay more than $40,000 in back wages to 96 current and former sales associates following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Furniture Today reported. The Labor Department said the investigation found that the retailer violated portions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay overtime and/or the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to some of its salespeople at 21 locations in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Investigators found that commissions earned by sales consultants did not always yield the minimum wage. In addition, many employees received “straight time” wages for all hours worked, rather than 1½ times their pay rate for hours worked above 40 hours per week. “Inside sales work is not exempted from the minimum and overtime wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southeast. “Employees were working up to 50 hours per week – some exceeding 120 hours in a pay period – but were not always paid at least the federal minimum wage or overtime when required.”