US Department of Labor recovers $32K in back wages for 42 workers after Florida landscaper fails to pay required overtime rates
Employer: Martinez Lawn & Irrigation Services Corp.
Investigation site: 320 Enterprise St., Ocoee, FL 34761
Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found the employer misclassified some employees as independent contractors, and paid them straight-time rates for overtime hours worked. By doing so, the employer failed to pay these employees the extra half-time rate due for hours over 40 in workweek, a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. The employer also failed to maintain complete and accurate time and pay records.
Back Wages Recovered: The division recovered $32,511 in back wages for 42 workers.
Quote: “When employers misclassify employees as independent contractors, they illegally deny them their full wages, fail to pay benefits and payroll withholding for taxes and make it harder for workers to provide for themselves and their families,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida.
“As employers continue to struggle to attract workers, they will find that employers who respect workers’ rights and protections will have an advantage in retaining and recruiting the people they need to operate their businesses,” De Jesús added.
Background: Martinez Lawn & Irrigation Services Corp. employs about 21 workers and carries out residential and commercial landscape maintenance in the Apopka, Florida, area.
The Wage and Hour Division’s Building Services Workers Initiative focuses on workers who provide cleaning, security, or landscaping services to businesses. Last year, the department recovered more than $5 million in back wages and liquidated damages in this initiative.
Employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. The division also offers numerous online resources for employers, such as a fact sheet on Fair Labor Standards Act wage laws overtime requirements. Workers who feel they may not be getting the wages they earned may contact a Wage and Hour Division representative in their state through a list and interactive online map on the agency’s website. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.