Pay violations at Florida’s Step One Automotive Group


A Pensacola car dealer violated both ends of the pay spectrum, minimum wage and overtime, the U.S. Department of Labor announced.

Step One Automotive Group paid $36,320 in back wages to 16 employees, an average of $2,270 per employee, after a Wage and Hour Division investigation found several incidents of the company failing to obey the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

According to Labor, at one of its Pensacola dealerships, Step One:

When paying auto detailers a flat-rate per automobile, didn’t make sure their pay was still at least the federal per hour minimum wage.

Didn’t pay detailers overtime when it was earned.

Paid other workers flat salaries, even when they exceeded 40 hours per week, another violation of overtime pay rules.

Didn’t include bonuses earned in figuring out overtime pay rates.

Step One operates 14 dealerships in Florida and Georgia and, according to, has 17 active companies registered under the Step One Automotive name with the state of Florida. Each lists Fernando Arellano Geddes as manager. A message left at his office Tuesday by a Miami Herald reporter hasn’t been returned.

The Wage and Hour complaint section of the Department of Labor website contains information on how to file a complaint. Miami’s Wage and Hour Division office can be reached at 305-598-6607. The national helpline is 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). No matter the immigration or citizenship status, workers can speak with the department, which claims it can handle calls in more than 200 languages.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

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