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Georgia auto shop workers owed $161,000 in back wages, feds say

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A Georgia auto shop withheld workers’ first paychecks and deprived them of overtime, according to the federal government.

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An auto store and tire retailer in Georgia withheld the first paychecks of 19 employees and deprived them of overtime, according to the US Department of Labor.

Cherokee Tire in Canton kept workers first weekly pay as a uniform filing, according to a press release from the agency.

The company also failed to pay some workers the required time-and-a-half overtime rate when they worked more than 40 hours a week, officials said.

Cherokee Tire did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

Employers did not keep accurate records of hours worked or overtime premiums paid, the statement said.

The agency recovered $161,983 in back wages and damages for the workers who were harmed.

“When business owners don’t pay full wages for the work of their employees, those workers and their families have to work harder to make ends meet,” said Steven Salazar, director of the U.S. Department of Labor for the Atlanta Wage and Hour Division District. in a report. “Employers who fail to meet their obligations to workers may find it difficult to retain and recruit the employees they need to ensure the success of their business.”

Earlier this year, another auto company with locations in Georgia and South Carolina had to pay 72 workers $79,000 after a Labor Department investigation found overtime violations, the statement said.

In 2021, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $4.3 million for more than 3,500 workers in the auto industry.

Canton is about 40 miles north of Atlanta.

Madeleine List is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter. She has reported for the Cape Cod Times and the Providence Journal.