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News Brief

Court orders Pennsylvania paving company to pay $114K total in back wages, damages and penalties after US Labor Department investigation

Type of Action: Consent judgment

Defendant(s): Victor Paving and Construction Inc., and Victor Zeni

Resolution: Victor Paving and Construction Inc. will pay 11 employees $51,302 in back wages and an equal, additional amount in liquidated damages totaling $102,604  under the terms of a consent judgment entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on April 1, 2016.

The judgment resolves a lawsuit filed after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which alleged that the employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and recordkeeping provisions.

Investigators found that, from September 2012 to September 2015, Victor Paving failed to pay employees working as members of its road crew legally required overtime, but instead falsified time and payroll records to create the appearance no overtime was worked. The employer recorded fewer than 40 hours on the payroll, but inflated hourly rates to compensate for the unrecorded hours, at straight time rates. For example, a worker who actually worked 60 hours, at $10 per hour, and who should have received overtime for the hours worked beyond 40, would instead show up on the payroll as having worked only 30 hours, but at $20 per hour.

The division previously investigated the company three times for failing to pay workers the proper FLSA wages. As a result, the employer was also assessed a $12,100 civil money penalty by the division for the repeat and willful violations disclosed in this latest investigation.

Quote: “Victor Paving has clearly made a practice of taking advantage of the vulnerable, low-wage workers it hires by undercutting their wages,” said John DuMont, director of the Pittsburgh Wage and Hour District Office. “This employer went to great lengths to conceal the overtime worked by its employees. The resolution of this case sends a clear message that the Wage and Hour Division will not tolerate repeat violators of the law, and will use every enforcement tool available, including litigation, to ensure that workers are paid every penny they have rightfully earned.”

Background: Founded in 1977, Victor Paving and Construction Inc. is a highway and street construction company located in Monongahela.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

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). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

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Perez v. Victor Paving & Construction Inc., et. al.

Civil action number: 2:16-CV-00383

Court: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
June 8, 2016
Release Number
16-0836-PHI
Contact: Leni Fortson
Contact: Joanna Hawkins