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US Labor Department sues Syracuse based property management companies for willfully underpaying dozens of workers
Date of Action: February 26, 2015
Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Lawsuit
Names of Defendants: Alliance Property Services Inc., Alliance Property Services PA Inc., Secure Assets First Inc., Imperial Property Services Inc. and Michael McCaffrey, individually and as owner.
These are centrally owned and commonly managed businesses, based in Syracuse, New York, engaged in property preservation and inspection services for foreclosed properties in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Allegations: An investigation by the Albany District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that the defendants violated the overtime, minimum wage, recordkeeping and anti-retaliation requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The violations affected employees who traveled to foreclosed properties to mow lawns, winterize homes, change locks and do light construction work.
Specifically, the defendants evaded paying overtime by paying employees with checks from two sister companies or paying employees in cash off the books when they worked more than 80 hours in a two week period; denied some employees the minimum wage by not paying them at all for their last one or two weeks of work; did not keep records of hours worked and cash wages paid; and fired an employee for cooperating with the Wage and Hour Division's investigation. The FLSA requires employers to pay federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour; to pay time and one half an employee's rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek; and prohibits retaliation against employees who file a complaint or participate in an investigation.
Resolution: The Labor Department has filed suit asking the court to require the defendants to pay employees the back wages due them plus an equal amount in liquidated damages; reinstatement of the fired worker plus payment to him of lost wages, liquidated damages and punitive damages; and an injunction permanently restraining the defendants from future FLSA violations. Attorney James Wong of the Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York is litigating the case for the department. If you have information about this case, please call the Syracuse Area Office of the Wage and Hour Division at 315-448-0630
Quote: "These employees, many of whom traveled long distances and worked more than 60 hours each week, kept their end of the bargain by doing their jobs. Their employer, by underpaying them and cheating them of their hard-earned wages, did not," said Jay Rosenblum, the Wage and Hour Division's district director in Albany. "This case shows that the Wage and Hour Division will use every resource available to protect workers and to ensure a level playing field so that law-abiding employers are not put at a competitive disadvantage."
Information: For more information about this case or about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the Albany District Office at 518- 431-6460, or the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
Docket Number: 5:15-cv-00226-GLS-ATB