Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department sues Connecticut limousine company for back wages and liquidated damages for more then 50 underpaid employees
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against S.D. Transportation Services LLC, doing business as Premier Limousine, and its owner, Stephen DiMarco, both of Berlin, Conn., for alleged violations of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal wage and hour law.
An investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found that the defendants have been underpaying more than 50 drivers who regularly operated Lincoln Town Cars and sport-utility vehicles by paying them straight time rather than the legally required overtime of time and one-half their regular rates of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. In addition, the defendants have failed to total drivers' hours on their daily trip sheets.
"This employer has refused, and continues to refuse, to pay employees the proper wages they are clearly due under federal law," said Neil Patrick, the division's district director in Hartford, Conn. "The defendants have also refused to make the necessary records available for inspection. The department is taking this legal action to ensure that these working people receive full and just compensation for their many hours of labor."
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven by the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor, seeks back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for the workers. It also asks the court to restrain the defendants from withholding payment to the workers of any back wages found due them and to permanently enjoin the defendants from future FLSA violations.
"The FLSA calls for payment of back wages plus liquidated damages both to properly compensate the workers and to help level the playing field for employers who play by the rules," said Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor for New England. "In other words, those businesses that pay their employees as the law requires shouldn't be placed at a competitive disadvantage by those that are like the defendants in this case."
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records. The Small Vehicle Exception to Section 13(b) (1) of the FLSA, which applies to these drivers, requires overtime for operators of motor vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less and carrying eight or fewer passengers.
The department has a smartphone application, available in English and Spanish, to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Users of this application can conveniently track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours worked for one or more employers. This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers' records, workers now can keep their own records. This and other Labor Department apps are available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/apps.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), its Hartford District Office at 860-240-4160 or its New Haven Area Office at 203-773-2249. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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