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I-Team: Federal Investigators force HART to pay back employees overtime

HART owed 106 employees $82,9143.43
Posted: 7:20 PM, Jun 06, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-06 23:20:34Z

While the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) is cutting bus routes , our I-Team found they've also been cutting corners on properly paying their employees.

Investigator Jarrod Holbrook found HART broke federal labor laws and now investigators are forcing them to pay back tens of thousands of dollars to their employees.

A federal investigation revealed 106 employees, mostly in maintenance and customer service, were not properly paid overtime.

We also discovered the problem has been going on for at least 2 years.

The I-Team is uncovering documents that highlight a Federal Department of Labor investigation.

Now HART has to pay back nearly $83,000 worth of overtime pay to employees.

"It's serious, it's serious", Brooke Basquit tells us.

She's HART's Director of Human Resources. To be fair she's new, and started just before the federal investigation began back in February. Basquit says timecard comments were also not being documented properly.   

Reporter: "Who's responsibility is it to document properly?"
Basquit: "It's the supervisors responsibility."
Reporter: "Have these supervisors been trained before?"
Basquit:  "Not that I'm aware."

When asked why not she says, "I have no idea, I have no comment for that."

HART tells us at least 16 supervisors are directly responsible in this investigation.

They are not getting disciplined, but they have been counseled and are undergoing proper training.

"I've talked to both of the unions, their representatives, to make sure that they knew right now this is informational, a coaching moment, it's very serious, but in the future if they don't comply they will be disciplined" Basquit says.

As of now, federal investigators are not fining HART. But they have been warned that in the future they could face up to an $1,100 fine per violation.

This is the fourth U.S. Department of Labor investigation this year, but the only time HART has had to pay back money.

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Jarrod Holbrook is an Emmy and AP Award-winning Investigative Reporter for the ABC Action News I-Team. Do you have a story idea? Contact Jarrod on  Facebook Twitter , or via email at  jarrod.holbrook@wfts.com .