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Insurance Firm Fined for Wage Violations

Posted on 15 Jan 2013 by Neilson

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Employment Practices LiabilityA Colton, California-based insurance company has agreed to pay almost $120,000 in back wages and fines after a federal investigation found minimum wage, overtime and other wage-and-hour violations, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Labor.

An investigation found that Premier Insurance Services, which sells a variety of policies, paid its employees based strictly on commissions, which resulted in workers receiving less than the minimum wage. Employees also did not receive overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week.

Also, Premier insurance Services did not keep employee payroll records.

"Paying employees on a commission-only basis does not give employers a green light to dodge minimum wage and overtime pay requirements," Priscilla Green, director of the labor department's West Covina office, said in the statement.

The settlement includes back pay due to 90 employees in 13 California locations, including one in Riverside, and almost $33,000 in civil penalties. The company also was ordered to sign an agreement to implement a timekeeping system to document employees' hours, according to the statement.

A spokesperson for Premier Insurance Services declined to comment on the federal agency's ruling.

Earlier this year the Labor Department discovered that an Upland company, Speedlane Insurance Services, was committing similar wage-and-hour offenses and was forced to pay about $200,000 in back wages to 96 employees. According to the statement, Speedlane was owned and operated by a close relative of Hakim Kabir, who owns Premier Insurance Services.