Court Orders New Hampshire Flooring Company to Pay $250,000 in Back Wages And Damages After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation, Litigation
MANCHESTER, NH – The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire has ordered C & C Flooring LLC and owner Christopher Coburn to pay 33 current and former employees a total of $240,000 in back wages and liquidated damages and $10,000 in punitive damages, to resolve violations of the overtime and anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The defendants have also paid a civil money penalty of $13,688 for the willful nature of the violations.
The consent judgment and order follows a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation and litigation by the Department’s Office of the Solicitor. WHD investigators found that the Manchester, New Hampshire, retailer and installer of business and residential flooring paid employees at straight-time rates, in unrecorded cash, when they worked more than 40 hours per work week instead of paying for overtime hours at time and one-half the employees’ regular rates of pay, as the law requires. The employer also “banked” some overtime hours, paying them out in later workweeks at straight-time rates. The defendants also failed to maintain accurate time records, and retaliated against employees by asking them to provide false information to WHD.
In addition to the back wages and damages, the judgment requires the defendants to:
- Rehire any workers covered by this case before hiring others, unless they can substantiate that the individuals were terminated for cause;
- Provide current and future employees with notice of their FLSA rights and WHD fact sheets;
- Train supervisors and payroll personnel annually on compliance with the FLSA;
- Supervise an annual FLSA compliance audit to be reviewed and approved by a lawyer or Certified Public Accountant with FLSA expertise; and
- Agree to a writ of execution so the Department may petition the court unopposed to have the U.S. Marshals Service seize the defendants’ property if they fail to comply with the monetary terms of the judgment.
The judgment also prohibits the defendants from giving raises in compensation to Chris Coburn or his wife, who is a company employee, and further restrains the defendants from transferring or encumbering their assets and property in specific ways.
“Employers must understand their responsibility to pay overtime, keep accurate records and refrain from retaliation against workers who exercise their legal rights. In this case, the workers will receive their back pay and damages, including punitive damages, and the employer has also paid a significant monetary penalty for the willful violations,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Daniel Cronin, in Manchester, New Hampshire. “We encourage employers to use the wide variety of compliance tools we offer to explain those requirements, and to contact us for guidance.”
“This case and its resolution send the strong message that the U.S. Department of Labor will take all necessary legal actions to ensure that workers receive the wages they have earned and are free from retaliation for exercising their rights,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Maia Fisher in Boston, Massachusetts.
Employers that discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
The mission of WHD 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 paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, 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.
Scalia v. C & C Flooring, LLC d/b/a C & C Flooring, and Christopher Coburn.
Civil Action Number: 19-cv-00629-JL.