Administrative law judge orders New Jersey federal contractor to pay $549K in back wages to 46 workers after US Department of Labor finds wage violations
LODI, NJ – A U.S. Department of Labor administrative law judge ordered a northern New Jersey trucking company contracted by the U.S. Postal Service to haul mail in the New York City metro-area to pay $549,209 in back wages to 46 drivers after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found wage, benefits and recordkeeping violations over a three-year period. The judge further ordered the company, its owner, and a second related company debarred from federal contracting for 3 years.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Petrillo Trucking Inc. and owner Luisa Petrillo failed to pay their service employees the minimum prevailing wage and fringe benefits rates as required in federal contracts under the McNamara O’Hara Service Contract Act. Among the multiple SCA violations, the employers paid drivers on a per trip, rather than per hour basis, resulting in unpaid or underpaid hours. Investigators also found the employer failed to maintain adequate and accurate records as the law requires.
“Employers awarded federal contracts must certify that all employees receive the wages and benefits they are rightfully due,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Paula Ruffin in Mountainside, New Jersey. “Our investigation determined that Petrillo Trucking Inc. failed to pay their drivers as required, and the U.S. Department of Labor took action to ensure the workers received their hard-earned wages.”
The department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges in Boston approved consent findings and ordered Petrillo Trucking Inc. to pay the back wages owed; and debarred the company, its owner and a second related company.
“Petrillo Trucking Inc. tried to evade the law by paying drivers per trip without regard to actual hours worked and paying others off the books,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey Rogoff in New York. “This agreement and related order sends a signal to federal contractors – and mail haul contractors in particular – that the U.S. Department of Labor will pursue legal action vigorously against federal contractors seeking to short change their employees and to gain advantage against law abiding competitors. This agreement ensures that these workers will be paid all of the wages owed them for their hard work.”
The division’s Northern New Jersey District Office conducted the investigation. Attorneys David Rutenberg, Ndidi Menkiti and Judy Marblestone of the department’s regional Office of the Solicitor in New York litigated the case for the department.
Based in Lodi, Petrillo Trucking Inc. is a privately owned, specialized freight trucking company that provides mail-hauling services to the U.S.P.S.
For more information about the SCA or other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.