U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Enforcement Action Against a Pennsylvania Company in Wage and Hour Case
LANSDOWNE, PA – Following a U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigation, a U.S. District Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Lansdowne-based Central Laundry Inc. from transporting, shipping, or delivering goods across state lines that were produced by employees not paid legally required federal minimum wage and overtime rates. A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for today.
Central Laundry Inc. does business as Olympic Linen and Liberty Laundry.
Division investigators determined that from Sept. 8, 2017, through at least Jan. 13, 2018, the company bounced payroll checks and paid some employees in cash at rates below those required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department of Labor’s filing requesting a temporary restraining order also included allegations that the employer threatened employees with a gun when they complained about not being paid, and that the company employed minors under the age of 16 in tasks prohibited by law.
“This rapid enforcement action will ensure that repeat offenders like Central Laundry are quickly held accountable for their lack of compliance, and will help level the playing field for other employers in the industry who pay their employees properly,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III.
In addition to prohibiting the interstate shipment of goods produced by labor paid in violation of the law, the temporary restraining order also prohibits Central Laundry Inc. and its owner, George Rengepes, and business operator James Rengepes from violating the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions.
The Department is currently litigating a separate action against the company, in which the court determined that the defendants willfully failed to pay laundry workers the proper minimum wage and overtime premium.
Central Laundry provides laundry service for hotel and restaurant operators in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.
The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt 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 rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employees must also maintain accurate time and payroll records. For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd