LinkedIn has paid hundreds of its workers almost $6 million in back wages and damages following an investigation by the US Department of Labor (DoL) that discovered the social networking site for professionals had violated overtime and record-keeping provisions that form part of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Payments of $3.4 million in overtime back wages and $2.5 million in damages were split between 359 current and former workers based at company offices in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York, the DoL announced Monday.
According to the findings of its investigation, LinkedIn failed to record, account and pay for extra hours worked by a number of its employees. However, in a comment that is likely to be seen by some as at best generous and at worst absurd, the DoL praised the company for the way it faced the investigation.
“This company has shown a great deal of integrity by fully cooperating with investigators and stepping up to the plate without hesitation to help make workers whole,” Dr. David Weil, administrator of the DoL’s Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement. “We are particularly pleased that LinkedIn also has committed to take positive and practical steps towards securing future compliance.”
A spokesperson for the social networking site told Digital Trends it had been keen to work with the department “to quickly and equitably rectify this situation,” adding that the issue had arisen as a result of “not having the right tools in place for a small subset of our sales force to track hours properly.” The company insisted that it had already begun to remedy the situation prior to the DoL’s involvement.
Besides the payments, Mountain View-based LinkedIn has also agreed to provide relevant training to managers and make clearer its policy prohibiting so-called off-the-clock hours.
Such off-the-clock hours, where employees work outside their usual time for no pay, are “all too common for the American worker,” the DoL’s Susan Blanco said, adding that such work “harms workers, denies them the wages they have rightfully earned and takes away time with families.”
She urged all employers “to review their pay practices to ensure employees know their basic workplace rights and that the commitment to compliance works through all levels of the organization,” adding that the DoL “is committed to protecting the rights of workers and leveling the playing field for all law-abiding employers.”