Levi’s To Pay Employees Over $1 Million In Back Wages

Levi Strauss & Co., that most American of denim companies, got caught doing something most American companies are good at hiding: not paying its workers as much as they should be getting paid.

WWD reports that the company will have to pony up over $1 million in back wages after the Labor Department discovered it had misclassified nearly 600 of its employees as being exempt from overtime pay. Most of these employees were assistant store managers, but a handful of administrative employees at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco were also wrongly exempted. The company says the incorrect calculation in hours and wages was a simple matter of confusion.

“As soon as the Department of Labor contacted us, we worked cooperatively with them to review the data and address questions that were identified,” said a Levi’s spokeswoman. “The federal rules governing the employee classification process are complex and it’s common for companies to have issues with misclassification.”

And the rules are complex, but they mostly stop here: some people don’t get overtime (like executives and other corporate employees) and some do (like store managers and certain administrative assistants). We’re glad the company was so cooperative in making sure its people get paid, and we’re glad the Labor Department spotted the errors. But shouldn’t the payroll department at a company as large as Levi’s know the law well enough to determine who should get what?

Levi’s to Pay $1 Million in Back Wages [WWD]

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