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News Brief

Department sues Honolulu builder to recover more than $500K for workers after willful violation of federal minimum wage and overtime pay laws

Kazu Construction, owner Vernon Lowry named in court action

Employer: Kazu Construction LLC

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Lawsuit    

Names of Defendants: Kazu Construction LLC Vernon Lowry, owner

Allegations: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Honolulu found that Kazu Construction LLC, and its owner Vernon Lowry, violated the overtime and minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act willfully and repeatedly. The contractor systematically “banked” hours worked over 40 in work week at a straight time rate only to be claimed by workers in future weeks when they worked less than 40 hours, such as for sick leave or other time off. As a result, the employer failed to pay some workers at least minimum wage and overtime rates for all the hours they worked beyond 40 in a week. The employer has refused to pay the wages that the division determined the company owes its employees.

Resolution: The department’s suit asks the court to require Kazu and its owner to pay more than more than $500,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 17 employees.

Quote: “Banking overtime hours instead of paying employees is an illegal practice used commonly in the construction industry,” said Janet Herold, the department’s regional solicitor in San Francisco. “Employers who fail to pay the wages required by law hurt the workers and their families, and gain an unfair advantage over competitors. We will go to court when necessary to stop illegal labor practices and to restore the lawful wages owed to workers.”

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), or the Honolulu office at 808-541-1361. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

Court: United States District Court for the District of Hawaii

Docket Number: 1:16-cv-00077-ACK-KSC

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
March 2, 2016
Release Number
16-0418-SAN
Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number
Contact: Jose Carnevali