Department of Labor sues East Penn Manufacturing

Agency alleges failure to pay for time worked

RICHMOND TWP., Pa. - The U.S. Department of Labor is suing one of Berks County's largest employers, alleging unpaid wages for hours worked.

A federal investigation found East Penn Manufacturing failed to pay employees for all of the hours they worked because the Richmond Township-based battery maker did not pay workers for the time spent dressing in protective clothing prior to their shift, nor for the time spent showering after their shift, U.S. labor officials announced late Tuesday. Instead, they said the company paid its employees only for their scheduled hours, not for what their time-clock entries showed.

That policy violates overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to the agency, which is seeking back wages and damages for 6,900 employees.

"The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that employees receive the wages they have earned for all the hours they have worked," said Alfonso Gristina, district director of the Labor Department's wage and hour division. "The legal action in this case demonstrates the department's commitment to workers, and to leveling the playing field for employers that comply with the law."

In addition to back wages and damages, the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks an order permanently enjoining the company from violating the FLSA in the future.

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