J&J Snack Foods to pay $2.1m to temporary workers after federal investigation
The company must pay 677 temporary workers $2.1m in back wages and damages after undergoing its second investigation of the year by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
The investigations found that temporary workers on the company’s production line were denied a large percentage of their wages by J&J Snack Foods and two staffing firms the company works with.
Baked goods companies under the J&J umbrella include Country Home Bakers, Mary B’s and SuperPretzel. The company also produces frozen food and beverage products, including Minute Maid Juice Bars and ICEE.
What the investigations found
According to the US Department of Labor, minimum wage and overtime pay were denied to workers. Both are required to be paid as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act law, something the DoL said J&J has violated on multiple occasions.
“Many hourly workers live paycheck-to-paycheck, and they rely on every penny to pay the rent, feed their families, and keep the lights on. Cheating workers out of the wages they've earned hurts them, their families and entire communities,” said US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.
“Paying workers properly isn’t a nice thing to do, it’s the law. We will continue to use our enforcement authority to ensure all workers receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
FLSA mandates that covered, non-exempt employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for hours worked. If they work beyond 40 hours a week, they must be paid this rate and one-half of their regular rate including bonuses, commission and incentive pay.
The DoL found 465 workers at J&J Swedesboro, New Jersey plant were paid for straight time for overtime hours worked over 40. J&J has agreed to pay back $1.3m in back wages and liquated damages for this.
In addition, the DoL said there will be a $20,000 civil penalty for the “willful, repeat nature of the violations”.
An investigation from earlier this year found that J&J did not pay workers in its Pennsylvania facility at least federal minimum wage and overtime. The company paid workers $920,000 in back wages and damages for this violation, the DoL said.
To make up for these violations, J&J will also have to include a written provision in contracts with temporary staffing agencies that requires compliance with the FLSA rules. Their temporary staffing record will be reviewed at least four times a year and all temporary agencies they work with will need to be reported to the Wage and Hour Division of the DoL.
J&J Snack Foods did not return BakeryandSnack’s call or email for comment.