JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $44,280 in back wages and liquidated damages for two employees of a Jackson ground delivery contractor. Officials said the business failed to compensate the employees for work they did off-the-clock from their homes.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Douglas Inc. – operating as Douglas Express Delivery – allowed the employees to work off-the-clock without compensation, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

After working their regular shifts and clocking out, the employees would then continue to perform work-related tasks from home such as responding to customers’ phone calls, texts and emails, providing directions to drivers for deliveries and finding alternate drivers when vehicles broke down.

In addition to failing to pay the workers for the off-the-clock work, Douglas Express owed the workers time-and-one half the required rate of pay as the off-the-clock work exceeded 40 hours in a workweek. The division also cited the employer with a recordkeeping violation for not recording the hours employees spent working from home after they left their physical worksite.

“The pandemic blurred the lines between home and office as safety dictated that some companies allow workers to complete job-related tasks from their homes, however, employers remain obligated to compensate workers for all their hours of work, including the time they spent working from home,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Audrey Hall in Jackson, Mississippi. “As more people use e-commerce sites to shop and the demands on warehousing, logistics and delivery companies increase, employers must ensure they comply fully with worker protections of wages and benefits, regardless of where the work is performed.”

Established in 1958, Douglas Inc. is a ground delivery contractor that delivers office supplies, furniture, pharmaceuticals, auto parts, beverages, medical supplies and mail. The company has five branch locations in Tupelo, Batesville, Greenwood, Hattiesburg and Gulfport.