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back flagging North Carolina

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  • back flagging North Carolina

    I work at a chevrolet dealership.I am paid flat rate(commision only),I am a auto technician,our service manager has told us we must fill out a "27 point inspection sheet,for each vehicle that we work on.I have no problem w/that because it will imform customer of any problems with vehicle.I have a couple issues,if we forget to fill out sheet he will back flag 3 tenths of 1 hour of time from pay.Another issue is if we miss something during inspection we are responsible to pay for part missed if one is needed and will be back flagged to pay for another tech to repair.EXAMPLE:I did 90 thousand mile service on a vehicle that payed 5hrs labor.Customer comes back week later to get north carolina safety inspection, I was out that day customer came back,another tech inspects vehicle and fails due to emergency brake not holding,customer complained to manager"why was this missed during 90k service?"manager has another tech to repair e-brake(needed new brake shoes).I was backed flagged 2 hrs labor to pay other tech to fix vehicle and may have to pay for parts.(roughly amounts to $150.00 out of my pocket)Is this legal.How can he back flagged me for a job I did not get paid for?Please any help would be very much appreciated.This happens to other techs in shop but not everyone is treated the same.

  • #2
    This is going to be a two-part answer. The first part will be "hard" law and the second part will not be.
    - Your starting point are the DOL rules associated with Auto Dealers and mechanics. Under those rules the employee must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked in the work week. Federal law has a specific exception that says that mechanics working for auto dealers do not have to be paid a premium for overtime hours. Example, Bob works 50 hours in the work week. Bob must under federal law be paid at least $292.50 (50 x $5.85) for the work week. There is nothing the dealer or the state can do to change this minimum requirement.
    - From here things get soft. I do not know NC law. NC may have a higher MW or more favorable rules to the employee. Or not. "Flags" are just a variant of the "piece work" rules, generally done in such a way so that the employee has no idea what is actually due them. Semi-legal smoke and mirrors so to speak. Presumably an argument can be made that the compensation agreement is something that the employer can be legally held to, assuming that anyone can actually figure out what the agreement is, and assuming that the state cares (some do not). I have never worked for an auto dealer but the one thing all questions from auto dealer mechanics seem to have in common is that the "flag" rate seemed to be designed to confuse the issue. And I have no idea what rules (if any) NC has on this subject.

    I am not saying to not persue any wages believed due from the "flag" slight of hand, but do not lose focus on the "hard" part of the law. The employer must pay MW wage for hours worked, period, no exception, no matter how much sleight of hand with the flags the employer attempts.

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs11.pdf
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      All I can tell you is the min. wage in NC is $6.15/hr.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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