Federal court orders Long Island contractors to pay nearly $1M in back wages, damages following US Department of Labor investigation
NEW YORK – Three Bellport concrete supply and construction companies and their owner, who schemed for three years to deny overtime pay to 99 laborers, have been ordered to pay the workers a total of $987,591 in back wages and liquidated damages, plus interest, in a consent judgment entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The court’s action follows a U.S. Department of Labor investigation into the pay practices of Macedo Construction Inc., Macedo Contracting Services Inc., Odecam Concrete Supply Corp. and Manuel Macedo. The companies and their owner must also pay $53,249 in civil money penalties and interest to the department for their willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Manuel Macedo and his companies failed to combine the hours laborers worked at the commonly owned businesses. The employer paid them with multiple checks from the three companies to evade overtime requirements. Each separate check showed the employees worked less than 40 hours per workweek when they actually worked a combined total of up to 48 hours per week. In addition, they did not pay the employees for time spent traveling from the companies’ work yards to jobsites, and failed to make, keep and retain accurate records of the employees’ work hours and pay rates.
“The scheme by Macedo Construction Inc., Macedo Contracting Services Inc., Odecam Concrete Supply Corp. and Manuel Macedo deprived their employees of nearly $491,000 in hard-earned wages over three years. Now in addition to the back wages, the employer must pay these workers an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus interest,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David An in Westbury, New York. “We encourage other employers to consider this investigation’s outcome, review their own pay practices and contact the Wage and Hour Division to avoid similar violations. The consequences of non-compliance with federal labor laws can be serious and expensive.”
“The U.S. Department of Labor does not tolerate wage theft, which shortchanges workers and puts law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage. We will pursue all appropriate and effective legal remedies, including securing liquidated damages for workers in addition to back wages,” said Regional Solicitor Jeffrey Rogoff in New York.
In addition to requiring payment of the back wages, liquidated damages, fines and interest, the consent judgment enjoins Manuel Macedo and the three companies from future violations of the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping requirements, retaliating against employees who exercise their FLSA rights and soliciting employees to return or “kick back” the wages, damages and interest awarded to them. They must also provide employees with notices of their rights under the FLSA in English and Spanish.
The division’s Long Island District Office conducted the original investigation. The department’s regional Office of the Solicitor in New York provided legal assistance for 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.
For more information about the FLSA and 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.