ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Belle Tire Distributors Inc. has agreed to pay $342,926 in back wages to more than 1,200 employees at its 100 stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio to settle a Fair Labor Standards Act claim.
A Labor Department investigation concluded that Belle Tire "failed to include incentive bonuses and sales commissions" in calculating overtime pay.
The 1,207 employees instead were paid time-and-a-half of only their base rates "without considering the amounts by which these bonuses and commissions had boosted employees' straight time earnings," the U.S. Department of Labor said.
Belle Tire cooperated during the investigation and plans to improve compliance at its locations, according to Timolin Mitchell, the agency's wage and hour district director in Detroit.
For its part, Belle Tire said it was unaware that it was calculating the overtime payments incorrectly.
"When the Department of Labor brought the matter to our attention, we cooperated and worked with them to understand what is required and ensured that it be resolved quickly for impacted employees," the dealership said in reply to a query from Tire Business.
"One of our core beliefs is to do the right thing whether for our customers or employees," Belle Tire added. "Once we understood how it should be calculated, that is exactly what we did."
Mr. Mitchell echoed Belle Tire's statement, saying, "Wage violations can be avoided when employers understand the requirements under federal labor law. Belle Tire is now training its store managers, supervisors, and payroll personnel to ensure they compute overtime properly and employees receive the wages they have rightfully earned."