U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Kentucky Lawn Service Company Paying $100,000 in Back Wages, Damages and Penalties
LOUISVILLE, KY – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Michael Osbourn – the owner of Mike Osbourn Lawn Care Inc. – will pay $76,067 in back wages and liquidated damages to 69 employees. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky issued a consent judgment against the Shepherdsville, Kentucky-based employer for violating the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employer will also pay $23,932 in civil money penalties.
WHD investigators determined the employer paid and reported the first 40 hours of each employee’s weekly hours on payroll, then paid for any additional hours in cash or with a separate check, all at straight-time rates. By doing so, he failed to pay overtime to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. WHD also found that Osbourn made illegal deductions from employees’ pay for uniforms and equipment repair that brought their wages below the federal minimum wage.
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet investigated Mike Osbourn Lawn Care Inc. in 2015 and found similar overtime violations. After receiving written notice of the violations, the employer failed to come into compliance. A previous state investigation led to the Department to allege that the violations were willful.
In addition to paying back wages, damages and penalties, Osbourn entered into the consent order and agreed to be permanently enjoined from violating the FLSA and to be monitored by a third party for a period of three years. Osbourn also agreed to secure a bond to ensure the payment of the back wages, liquidated damages, and civil money penalties.
“The result of this investigation and litigation will ensure that willful violators comply with federal law and wages are returned to the employees who legally earned them,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett, in Louisville, Kentucky. “The Wage and Hour Division will continue to use all of its enforcement tools to secure the wages of hard-working employees and to level the playing field for employers who play by the rules.”
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the WHD, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the Nation's workforce. WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to Federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.