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US Labor Department obtains judgment ordering Brooklyn day care chain to pay back wages and not retaliate against employees
Employer name: Flowers of the Sun Inc., doing business as Ilene's Sunflower, and Ilene Lieberman
Investigation site: 366 President St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11231
Investigation findings and legal complaint: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that the defendants, who operate several preschool and daycare facilities in Brooklyn, did not pay overtime to employees who worked more than 40 hours per week as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. As a result of the investigation, the defendants agreed to pay $20,838.45 in back wages to 35 current and former employees. The department subsequently found that the defendants tried to force employees to be part of a kickback scheme to fake payment of back wages owed to them, and filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on June 29, 2015, alleging that defendants designed and implemented a scheme to create the appearance of legal compliance with the terms of the agreement while actually requiring employees to "kick back" the amount of back wages due to them.
Result: To prevent future violations and protect workers' rights to collect the back wages due, the Labor Department has now obtained a consent judgment which orders the employer to pay workers all back wages due; comply with the FLSA; provide all employees with a written explanation of their rights under the FLSA; provide employees with detailed paystubs; keep detailed payroll records and make them available to the Wage and Hour Division for review; refrain from retaliating or discriminating against employees in any way; and provide the division with seven days' notice of any employee termination or layoffs.
Quotes: "This judgment reinforces our position that we will not tolerate the vicious cycle of worker exploitation through fear, coercion and intimidation This employer's failure to pay overtime wages to its employees not only denied them what they are entitled to under the law but deprived them of the funds needed to pay their bills. Other employers should take note that we will use all tools at our disposal to protect workers and level the playing field for law-abiding employers," said Maria Rosado, the division's deputy regional administrator in New York.
"To protect the workers, and ensure employers follow through on their commitments, this judgment allows the Labor Department to put the company into receivership to ensure payment if they violate the terms of the injunction. No employee should ever have to doubt that they will receive all the wages due to them under the law," said Jeffrey Rogoff, the Labor Department's regional solicitor in New York.
The case was litigated by attorneys Allison L. Bowles and Lindsey Rothfeder of the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.
Information: For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
Link to the judgment: 15-cv-03785.