Boudin company ordered to give employees back pay; was not properly compensating for overtime, officials said _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- The Billy's Boudin sign at their Scott, La. location is pictured Monday, March 7, 2016.

For at least two years, minimum wage workers who make boudin and cracklins at Billy’s Boudin & Cracklins in Scott and at two other popular Acadiana stores were routinely cheated out of overtime pay by the stores’ owners, who shorted the workers by more than $100,000, federal officials said Monday.

William “Billy” Frey II and his wife, Patsy Frey, were ordered to pay 102 employees and former employees a total of $112,724 for overtime they worked but were never adequately compensated for, U.S. Department of Labor officials said.

The employees worked for the Freys at the store in Scott, at Ray’s in Opelousas and Billy’s Mini Mart and Diner in Krotz Springs. The investigation covered Jan. 22, 2013, to Jan. 21, 2015, U.S. Department of Labor spokesman Juan Rodriguez said Monday.

Rodriguez said the Freys agreed in December to pay the employees the back wages.

The Freys in December also pledged to comply with wage rules set in the Fair Labor Standards Act; to notify their employees of FLSA protections; and to train their supervisors and managers on the FLSA rules twice a year. Those rules include paying employees overtime rates when they work past 40 hours in a week.

And last week the Freys agreed to pay $25,750 in penalties to the Labor Department, Rodriguez said.

“The FLSA requires that … (hourly) employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week,” the department said in a news release Monday.

Investigators from the Labor Department’s New Orleans office took a long look at the Freys’ payroll figures.

They found the couple routinely skirted overtime pay requirements by dividing employee payroll hours among two stores, paying 40 hours from one store then paying excess hours from another, all at straight time.

“Denying employees their rightfully earned wages is not only wrong, it’s illegal,” said Betty Campbell, an administrator from the department’s southwest division.

“This industry employs some of the most vulnerable workers we see,” Campbell said in the release. “Shorting these workers makes it even more difficult for them to make ends meet and gives the employer an unfair advantage over its competition.”

The Freys did not return a message left Monday with an employee at the store in Scott.

Follow Billy Gunn on Twitter, @BillyGunn Acad.