U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in New Jersey Farm Paying $79,007 in Back Wages and Penalties
RINGOES, NJ - After a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, Mavrode Farms LLC—a Ringoes, New Jersey, wholesale florist supplier—has paid $76,374 to 13 employees to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Division also assessed civil money penalties totaling $2,633 for the violations.
Division investigators determined that the company and its owner Michael Mavrode violated the overtime, minimum wage, and recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA and the housing, wage, and disclosure provisions of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).
The investigation determined that the employer violated MSPA requirements when it failed to provide workers with copies of work contracts, failed to pay promised wages, and failed to ensure housing safety and health for migrant workers. Mavrode violated the FLSA when he failed to pay overtime to farm employees performing non-agricultural activities. The employer paid those employees on a piece-rate basis, without regard to the number of hours they actually worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a work week without additional overtime pay. Mavrode also failed to maintain time records as required by the FLSA.
“As a result of this investigation, Mavrode Farms’ employees will receive the wages they are owed and will be provided with safe housing,” said Charlene Rachor, Wage and Hour Division Southern New Jersey District Office Director. “Employers can avoid violations by reaching out to us for assistance to ensure they are in compliance with the law. We offer a wide variety of tools for employers, including many specific to the requirements for those in agricultural industries.”
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. The MSPA establishes employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures, and recordkeeping.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit the Division’s web site. It also offers a search tool which allows users to determine if you are owed back wages collected by the Division.