MASSILLON, Ohio — More than 150 Ziegler Tire & Supply Co. workers will receive thousands of dollars in pay after a federal investigation into alleged overtime and record-keeping violations.
The tire dealer, for its part, said it thought it was doing right by its employees and moved swiftly to make changes once the company realized there were problems.
U.S. Department of Labor said it recovered $129,612 in back wages for 154 Ziegler workers in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Ziegler "called mechanics and tire technicians in the evening after normal working hours to complete auto service repairs," the labor department said in a statement.
"The employer failed to add these 'call out' hours to the total hours these employees worked, and failed to include commissions and call-out bonuses in workers' regular rates of pay when determining overtime rates."
Chief Operating Officer Nate Clements said Ziegler Tire did not realize it was in violation of wage rules and actually was paying a higher wage rate for these after-hour emergency road calls compared with standard overtime rates.
Mr. Clements said the company discovered it was incorrect in its approach and moved quickly to make changes once the matter was brought to Ziegler Tire's attention.
That included changing payroll processors to allow the company to comply.
"We thought we were doing everything correctly. That is why we were caught off guard," he said. "That's why we tried to make the changes as quickly as we could."
The labor department said Ziegler Tire has "systemic overtime violations." Mr. Clements said that was not the company's intention.
"Ziegler Tire was not aware of any violations prior to the audit. While we thought we were doing the right thing by paying a premium rate greater than overtime to our employees, we now understand that it did not meet the technical requirements," the company said in a statement.
"We took immediate steps to remediate the violations as soon as they were brought to our attention. We've since paid back wages due and updated our system to ensure accurate payroll processing.
"We will continue monitoring to ensure that our employees know they are our most valuable asset," the company said.
Most of the violations occurred at stores in Ohio, where 11 locations were cited. Another three locations in Pennsylvania and two more in Kentucky also were listed. Ziegler Tire is based in Massillon.
Employees were shorted from between $2,639 at a store in Troy, Ohio, to a high of $14,743 at a location in Dover, Ohio, the federal government said.
"By rule we were incorrect and that's why we worked with the department of labor and got it corrected as soon as we could and got the back pay taken care of" Mr. Clements said. "We want to be correct moving forward."