US Department of Labor recovers $333K in back wages, damages for 51 workers denied overtime by Long Island maintenance company
WESTBURY, NY – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered more than $333,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 51 employees of a Long Island maintenance company that issued separate checks to workers to mask the company’s failure to pay overtime wages when required by law.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that employees worked as many as 80 hours per week or more but, typically, Professional Building Maintenance Corp. and owner Brady Patruno paid them straight-time hourly rates instead of paying overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek.
Specifically, the company and Patruno paid employees working overtime hours in a pay period by issuing more than one check, one from the company’s payroll account for the first 40 or fewer hours of work and a second check from another account for overtime hours. However, the employer, did not pay the required overtime rate for hours over 40 in a workweek. The company issued checks for overtime hours at straight-time hourly rates either from a second company bank account and/or from straw corporations that Professional Building Maintenance Corp. passed off as subcontractors.
The department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor obtained an administrative search warrant and assisted the division in obtaining third-party bank subpoenas to get the payroll records and canceled checks that revealed the employers’ scheme.
The investigation recovered $166,702 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages and led the department to assess $15,432 in civil money penalties because of the willful nature of the violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Employers who wrongly believe they can disregard the law and deprive workers of their hard-earned wages will face significant consequences when their illegal actions are discovered,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David An in Westbury, New York. “Workers and employers with questions about their rights and responsibilities under federal law should feel free to contact the Wage and Hour Division.”
The FLSA requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at not less than time and one-half the required rate of pay for all hours over 40 in a workweek.
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. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers confidentially in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices — also available in Spanish — to ensure hours and pay are accurate.