US Department of Labor obtains court order to stop Long Island HVAC employer from retaliation, forcing employees to kick back wages
Type of action: Consent preliminary injunction
Names of defendants: P & B Heating & Air Conditioning Corp., West Babylon, New York
Craig Napolitano, Robert Napolitano
Background: On Oct. 3, 2022 – after a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation of its pay practices – the heating, ventilation and air conditioning company agreed to pay $144,350 in overtime back wages to 25 employees to resolve its violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Shortly thereafter, the department alleges that P & B Heating & Air Conditioning began retaliating against employees and threatening them with termination if they did not kick back the wage payments and that at least one employee did so.
On April 6, 2023, the department obtained a temporary restraining order to forbid P & B Heating & Air Conditioning from retaliating against employees. It also filed a complaint related to the employers’ violations of the FLSA’s overtime and anti-retaliation provisions, in which the department seeks unpaid back wages as a result of the kickbacks, compensatory and punitive damages for the affected workers and a permanent injunction preventing the employers from future retaliation against employees. View the complaint and the order.
Resolution: On April 17, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a consent preliminary injunction, ordering the employer and its management not to retaliate against or threaten employees, solicit kickbacks, and interfere with the department’s distribution of the back wage payments. The injunction also forbids them from instructing employees to provide false information or not to cooperate with the investigation, and further prohibits the employer and management from terminating any employee without providing the department with at least seven days’ notice. They must also return any illegally kicked back wages to employees and allow the department to read aloud in English and any other language understood by the employees, during their paid working hours and in the presence of the defendants, a statement summarizing the October settlement, the restraining order and the workers’ rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The injunction carries forward the terms of the temporary restraining order, for as long as the department’s complaint alleging overtime and retaliation violations remains pending in court. View the preliminary injunction.
Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Docket Number: 23-CV-2582
Quotes: “P & B Heating & Air Conditioning’s threats and actions against its workers are egregious, unconscionable, and illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The U.S. Department of Labor takes allegations of employee retaliation very seriously and is aggressively pursuing all legal avenues to halt this and future illegal intimidation and make certain the employer compensates their employees properly,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.
“This employer violated its earlier agreement to pay its employees their full wages, and then illegally pressured them to kick back monies that belonged to the workers in the first place and threatened them with termination. The Wage and Hour Division does not tolerate retaliation or intimidation of any kind against workers. Workers who believe their employers are retaliating against them because they exercise their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act should contact us,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David An in Westbury, New York.
Su v. P & B Heating & Air Conditioning Corp., Craig Napolitano and Robert Napolitano.
Case No. 23-CV-2582