US Department of Labor recovers $283K in wages, liquidated damages for 19 New Hampshire landscaping contractor workers willfully denied overtime pay
MANCHESTER, NH – A federal court has entered a consent order against a Salem landscaping contractor, operating in southern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts, which requires the New Hampshire-based contractor to pay a total of $283,020 – $141,510 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages – to 19 workers to resolve violations of the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Belko Landscaping LLC failed to pay some employees one and one-half times their required rates of pay for hours over 40 in a workweek. Instead, the employer paid workers straight-time rates for overtime hours worked. Belko also failed to record work hours for some workers accurately.
Belko Landscaping LLC and its president, John Belko, also paid $14,231 in civil money penalties due to the willful nature of the violations.
“Paying straight-time rates for overtime hours worked shortchanges workers of the hard-earned wages they need to make ends meet, and violates the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Wage and Hour District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Unfortunately, these types of violations are common in the landscaping services industry. We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division about their responsibilities and workers to contact the agency with questions about their rights.”
“As this case shows, the cost of violating the law can be high for employers who willfully deny workers the wages they have earned. In cases such as this, the department will seek to hold employers accountable for paying their workers the wages they owe them and seek an equal amount in liquidated damages because the employees have been without use of their hard-earned wages for a period of time,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Maia Fisher in Boston.
In its consent judgment, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire requires the payment of the wages and damages, and enjoins the business and its owner from future violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping and anti-retaliation provisions. It also requires them to provide current and future employees with information on the FLSA’s overtime requirements in English and Spanish.
In fiscal year 2021, more than 280 Wage and Hour Division investigations recovered $1.2 million for more than 1,000 workers in the landscaping services industry.
The division’s Northern New England District Office in Manchester conducted the investigation. The department’s Boston Regional Office of the Solicitor filed the complaint and consent judgment in the case.
For information about laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions, regardless of immigration status, and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
The Wage and Hour Division has a number of resources online for workers and employers, including an FLSA compliance toolkit. 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.
Walsh v. Belko Landscaping LLC d/b/a Belko Landscaping and John Belko
Civil Action No. 22-00158