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2 questions on unapproved back flags and no pay for work performed Texas

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  • 2 questions on unapproved back flags and no pay for work performed Texas

    Question 1???
    I am an automotive mechanic paid on a flat rate, commission or flag rate and have been having issues with my employer back flagging (taking hours) time out of my pay check with out a reason or informing me as to why. I have attempted multiple times by email to contact them and they will not respond there is a read receipt showing they read my emails. This happens not only to me but to most of the (60+) flag rate mechanics in the shop and has been for years. I turned in my resignation 1 year ago over the same issues and was given a substantial raise and was asked to stay. Stupid me!!! I stayed. Is it legal for them to take the earned hours from me with out notice or authorization? I have been told by many that it is not legal for them to back flag hours without authorization. Is that true?

    Question 2???
    If I perform a repair of any kind being paid on a flat rate scale is it legal for them to not pay me at all? Situation= I was authorized by a foreman to perform a repair under warranty. I performed the repairs. At the end of the pay period there was no pay for that job. I asked warranty department about the no pay and they said it was not a warranty issue and I must speak to the Service Manager. I was told that they had allready covered that part under warranty 2 times for the same reason and they would not cover it again. The customer was charged for the part but I was not paid for the repair and was not going to get paid. Is there any law against them not paying me for work performed?

  • #2
    There is a federal law called FLSA. That law provides the basic rules for minimum wage and overtime, plus many other rules. There are exceptions (more on that later), but very basically mechanics are normally Non-Exempt employees who must be paid all hours worked, must be paid at least minimum wage and generally must be paid overtime for hours worked past 40 in the workweek. Piece work, commissions and other calculation methods complicate things but cannot change these basic rules. There are some potential exceptions and complications however.
    - Companies that have $500K in annual sales or engage in interstate commerce are covered by FLSA. Companies that do not are subject to state law (if any) and I have no idea what TX law is on this area (not my state).
    - While mechanics are generally Non-Exempt, the nature of the employer sometimes makes a difference. Mechanics working for auto dealers, airlines (with a few exceptions), or railroads (with a few exceptions) are Exempt from overtime, but not from minimum wage. I will include a pointer to the Auto Dealer rules. The airline/railroad rules are part of the RLA law. You will need to tell us what the nature of your employer's business is.

    Example, Bob is a mechanic subject to FLSA. Bob works 60 hours during the workweek. Bob's state follows the federal minimum wage of $5.85/hour. Assuming my math is working this time of night, Bob's employer must pay him at least $409.50. Let's say that Bob's employer pays him $10/task. If Bob does 50 tasks, he is paid $500. If Bob instead does 30 tasks, he is paid $409.50.

    If Bob is not subject to the overtime rules, then (given 60 hours worked), the minimum pay drops to $351.

    Regarding your questions, legally there is no such thing as "flag" hours, just hours worked. All hours worked must be paid. Assuming that you are subject to the overtime rules (see above), then you must also be paid overtime. However, your functional hourly rate does not have to more then minimum wage (higher of federal or state).

    Traditionally you would file a wage claim with TX DOL (TEC? or whatever they call it) to recover any unpaid wages.
    Last edited by DAW; 11-27-2007, 08:39 PM.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


    • #3
      If you believe you had not been paid for all time worked, you could have filed a claim for unpaid wages with the TWC and let them sort it out with the employer. After all, it was over a year ago, and it's apparent that this employer is not interested in discussing anything with you at this point. However, Texas law requires that you file the claim within 180 days of the last incidence of nonpayment, so that avenue is no longer open to you.

      You might try filing with the federal DOL, but if you averaged at least minimum wage for all hours worked, that's not likely to help you either, since that's really all the federal DOL can do for you in this situation.

      Looks like you waited too long to take action, at least with the TWC.
      Last edited by Pattymd; 11-27-2007, 08:37 PM.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
        However, Texas law requires that you file the claim within 180 days of the last incidence of nonpayment, so that avenue is no longer open to you.
        If this is an ongoing situation, would not the claim window still be open?
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


        • #5
          It would. I wasn't clear if question #2 related to the current employment situation, but in #1, the OP stated that he resigned a year ago.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


          • #6

            I am still working at the same dealership and have been for over 7 years as a Tech. The issues I keep trying to contact the service manager over are all recent and the no pay on warranty repairs seem to happen every pay period. I turned in resignation 1 year ago over back flag and no pay issues and explained to them why I was leaving. So they know what is going on. Them blowing smoke you know where changed my decision and I stayed employed. I am paid strictly on commission pay. If I perform a job that pays 1 hour and it takes me 20 minutes. I still get paid 1 hour. If it takes me 3 hours I get paid 1 hour. The dealership does an estimated 1.5 million in parts sales alone a month and I have no idea about labor income or car sales. This is an on going situation with the back flags and the no pay on repairs. I have been keeping a log of all work repair orders where my labor was performed and at the end of my pay period (bi-weekly) I check for payments on all jobs. Our pay period was changed and made extremely hard to keep track of our warranty pay. (We had to sign a form for approval for them to change the pay period.)The pay period is 2 weeks long. Starts on a Monday and ends Sunday of the second week for all customer pay repairs. Warranty starts on a Monday and goes to Thursday of the second week. All repairs performed under warranty after the Thursday cut off will then be paid on the following pay period. They don’t stick to that even though it was performed before the Thursday cut off. If something is not paid and I call it to the warranty administrator’s attention I have been told it will be on the next pay period or we will make it up to you. When I ask for confirmation on the make up they get pissed and say it was made up or go talk to the service manager. That is why it has become extremely hard to follow.

            Example for back flag: I performed a windshield replacement back in early February 07. I was paid for the repair in February. The car was brought back to service department 2 weeks ago for a wind noise from the windshield. The car was given to another tech for diagnosis due to me being on vacation. The conclusion supposable was that the windshield that I installed was installed slightly to high. I was told by the tech that did the repair. I can’t see that being possible and if so why wasn’t it brought back after the repair was performed. We are having windshields installed from the factory causing wind noises due to windshield seals so I don’t think it was in my error. I returned from vacation before any repairs were performed. If they had shown me an error in my workmanship I would have no problem with the back flag. I stand behind my work! The windshield was then removed and was damaged in the process causing the dealer to have to pay for the windshield. My time for the windshield was back flagged. Time was estimated to be worth $220.00 before taxes out of my check and did'nt bring me anywhere near minimum wage. I was not informed of the back flag at any time by anyone. My end of the pay period flag sheet shows a back flag. That is when I attempted to contact the Service Manager in charge of the back flags and no response. It has been over a week! I want to know if they have the right to take money out of my check with out my authorization.

            I apologize for blabbing. There are just so many things that have happened that I know are morally wrong and I know morals are not the law. I need all the help I can get so I can make the best decision on my part. For all of you that think " I would find another job" I am looking. Thanks for all the links and assistance so far.


            • #7
              File a wage claim for any workweeks that you do not receive at least minimum wage with TWC. Or with federal DOL. Or a small claim court action. I do not know enough about TX to advise which is the best course. Patty made a good point about the apparent 6-month window for TWC, although since this is apparently an on going pattern, that limit might not matter.

              Assuming that you are a mechanic working for an Auto Dealer, then you are not eligible for overtime paid at the 150% premium under the federal rules. But you would be eligible to be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked in the work week, including the hours-worked-past-40.

              The "flags" are smoke and mirrors. Ignore them. You have to be paid at least minimum wage, period. If your employer has you making serious mistake on videotape, they still have to pay you minimum wage for all hours worked. If you are not getting minimum wage, file a wage claim. If you are barely getting minimum wage, find a job elsewhere. Mechanics are supposed to be skilled work, and if you are not getting better then minimum wage, then be somewhere else. A bad waiter or bartender gets better then minimum wage after tips.

              And a dishonest employer is not worth working for.


              Do any of the other responders know what TX minimum wage is?
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


              • #8
                Texas minimum wage still follows federal.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


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