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New Mexico Auto Glass Shop Denies DOL's Allegations

The defendants in a suit filed by the Department of Labor (DOL) against a Touch of Glass, a New Mexico-based auto glass chain, have filed an answer to the original complaint, denying the allegations that they withheld payment of minimum wage and/or overtime compensation to employees. The original complaint was filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, Albuquerque Division, in January, and also named the company's president, Emily Gordon, and vice president, Emerald Duquette, as defendants. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

The original complaint alleged that the company and its leaders paid its employees at rates less than the minimum hourly rated required by the FLSA that they required employees "in an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce" to work more than 40 hours a week "without compensating such employees for their employment in excess of 40 hours per week at rates not less than one and one-half times the regular rates at which they were employed," according to court documents.

In addition, the DOL alleged that the company failed to keep accurate records of how many hours employees worked each day and the total each week.

The defendants claim that they "at all times acted in good faith" and that they "did not violate the Act or willfully violate the act."

Likewise, they allege that claims for overtime may be barred for certain employees that were classified as "exempt" employees under the FLSA.

With regard to the record-keeping allegations, the defendants claim that they complied with all record-keeping and notice provisions of the FLSA and that any deficiencies in record-keeping or payment of wages to employees were "inadvertent and/or [minimal]."

The defendants also allege that the plaintiff's claims are "barred by the doctrine of unclean hands," and that the "plaintiff and affected employees, if any, have failed to mitigate damages."

In addition to denying the allegations of the complaint, Wayne E. Bingham of Bingham, Hurst & Apodaca P.C., counsel for the company, Gordon and Duquette, also denies that Gordon and Duquette are proper parties against which to issue the complaint under the FLSA-and that the only proper party to be involved in the suit is the company as a whole.

CLICK HERE for the full text of the answer filed on March 10.

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