North Jersey construction companies, US Department of Labor reach agreement on back pay for 153 workers
EAST ORANGE, N.J. – Three East Orange construction companies have entered into a consent judgment with the U.S. Department of Labor and will pay $850,000 in back wages and damages to 153 workers to resolve violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators found that DKNJ Masonry Corp., Roy Rock LLC and Silver Construction Inc. – all controlled and operated by Rui Pires – violated the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping provisions.
Investigators found that the companies and Rui Pires, which all admitted that they jointly employed their workers in each workweek, failed to pay overtime at time-and-a-half when employees worked more than 40 hours. Instead, the employer paid for overtime hours at straight-time rates and failed to keep adequate records of hours worked. The division found DKNJ violated the law by hiding overtime in a separate payroll of another company, Silver Construction. Silver shared the same space, staff and management as DKNJ Masonry/Roy Rock. Investigators determined the second company was used to evade FLSA requirements.
“The construction industry is highly competitive. A company that avoids paying legally required wages gains an unfair advantage over its competitors,” said John Warner, director of the Northern New Jersey District Office. “Our goal is to ensure that workers receive the wages they have earned and that law-abiding businesses can compete fairly in the marketplace,” said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, regional solicitor.
The division is committed to providing companies with the tools they need to understand and comply with the variety of labor laws the division enforces. It offers useful resources ranging from an interactive Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses advisor to a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters. In addition, the division’s Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialists conduct ongoing outreach activities to educate stakeholders, including employers, employees, business and labor groups and professional associations, among others, with accessible, easy-to-understand information about their rights and responsibilities.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time-and-one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about federal wage laws administered by the division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
This case was investigated by the Wage and Hour Division’s Northern New Jersey District Office and litigated by Stacy Goldberg and Jacob Heyman Kantor of the Solicitor’s Office.