Wage and hour fight | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wage and hour fight

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Dueling news releases between federal Labor Department and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on question of whether G&FC had properly paid employees.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The state of Arkansas, Game and Fish Commission, has agreed to pay $132,154 in back overtime wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found 161 current and former wildlife officers did not receive overtime pay as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Civil money penalties assessed total $13,282.

The investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division in Little Rock determined that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission failed to pay its employees for all hours worked, including those worked over 40 in a workweek. Employees were assigned work at home such as answering telephone calls and completing computer assignments, for which they were
not compensated.

"This is not the first time this organization has not properly compensated its employees," said Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division's regional administrator for the Southwest. "In this case, these officers were not compensated for assigned duties following their

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has agreed to future compliance with the law. Back wages and civil money penalties have been paid in full.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked more than 40 per week, unless otherwise exempt. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.


LITTLE ROCK - A news release sent to the media today by the U.S. Department of Labor inaccurately stated that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission had agreed to pay back overtime wages to its current and former wildlife officers. On Sept. 18, 2008, the AGFC entered into a settlement with the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division to settle a disputed claim that stemmed from the DOL's desk audit investigation that took place between February and May of 2008.

In the September 2008 settlement, the AGFC specifically denied any liability or wrongdoing involving overtime compensation of its wildlife officers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Commission chose to settle with the DOL as the quickest and most economic way to resolve the matter, according to Deputy Director Loren Hitchcock.

The statement, "This is not the first time this organization has not properly compensated its employees," attributed to Cynthia Watson, Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator for the DOL's southwest office, is flatly false. Hitchcock said DOL officials know that the AGFC has not had any previous violations or failed to properly compensate its employees. "We are requesting that Ms. Watson's statement be retracted," Hitchcock stated. Additionally, the DOL's statement that civil penalties had been assessed in the amount of $13,282 was misleading. Actually, the amount was an accumulation of penalties assessed against other Arkansas
state agencies and not the AGFC.

In a November 2008 memo, Hitchcock informed the officers that "in the interest of DOL's concern, and ensuring fair and complete compensation for employees, the Commission has decided to credit all nonexempt wildlife officers with additional work time...during the period Jan. 1, 2006 to March 1, 2008." The AGFC paid 18 former officers a total of $9,647 and provided current officers with a total of 7,586 hours of compensatory time. Most of the wildlife officers have already used their compensatory time. 


From the ArkTimes store


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016

Most Shared

  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation