Nashua, New Hampshire, painting contractor to pay nearly $500K in wages, damages and penalties
Kevin Corriveau Painting Inc. prohibited from retaliating against workers
MANCHESTER, N.H. The Fair Labor Standards Act ensures that employees receive proper wages and overtime for all hours worked. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who cooperate with investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.
When employers, such as Nashua-based contractor Kevin Corriveau Painting Inc., also known as Corriveau Contracting, intentionally pay employees improperly and then engage in schemes to cover up their violations including threatening workers and coercing them to provide false statements as claimed in court filings, the department pursues legal means to sanction such employers and provide justice for their workers.
The department first filed a lawsuit in October 2012 against Corriveau and his associates in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. The lawsuit alleged violations of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements. In August 2014, following revelations of ongoing violations, the department filed an amended complaint and obtained a preliminary injunction preventing the defendants from intimidating, retaliating or discriminating against current or former employees involved in the investigation and lawsuit.
The department has resolved this civil action by obtaining a consent judgment that orders Corriveau, and fellow defendants Brian Corriveau and Sharon Mercuri, to pay $427,300 $213,650 and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 157 employees who were denied payment of overtime and/or minimum wage. One worker who was retaliated against will receive $10,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The order also prohibits the defendants, including Jeffrey Levinson, from violating the FLSA's anti-retaliation provisions and prevents them from threatening to report any employee to immigration authorities to inhibit employees' rights under the FLSA.
It also requires defendants Kevin Corriveau and Kevin Corriveau Painting to hire, for at least three years, a qualified, independent monitor who will review records, inspect working conditions and interview employees confidentially. The monitor will report to the department on the defendants' compliance with the FLSA and the court judgment.
"This judgment commits the defendants to extensive corrective action to pay their employees and properly advise them of their legal rights," said Daniel Cronin, the Wage and Hour Division's district director in Manchester. "Underpaying employees not only penalizes workers economically, it also undercuts law-abiding employers who pay their workers a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."
"Employers should pay attention to the enforcement steps taken here, and to the judgment's terms. The department has committed to ensuring that employees are paid in accordance with the law and shielded from employer actions intended to stifle their voice in the workplace. Employers who fail to pay properly will face the obligation to pay both back wages and liquidated damages; those who retaliate will face the need to pay compensatory and punitive damages, as was required here," said Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor of labor for New England.
The judgment also requires the defendants to:
- Pay $62,700 in civil money penalties to the department.
- Maintain accurate records of all hours worked and use a single payroll system, under which employees will be paid by payroll check.
- Provide employees and managers with training in English, Spanish and Portuguese on the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and anti-retaliation requirements, employees' rights and the terms of the consent judgment.
The judgment also prohibits the defendants from:
- Withholding payment of back wages or damages.
- Demanding, keeping or accepting any part of back wages and damages to be paid.
- Failing to cooperate with the department in any investigation.
The Wage and Hour Division's Manchester District Office investigated the case. Kendra Reed was the case's lead investigator. Trial attorneys James Glickman, Dustin Saldarriaga and Avni Amin of the department's regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston litigated the case.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and are prohibited from discharging or in any manner discriminating against any employee because that employee has filed a complaint or is otherwise cooperating with an investigation by the department.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Manchester District Office at 603-666-7716. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
# # #
Perez v. Kevin Corriveau Painting Inc., Kevin Corriveau, Brian Corriveau, Sharon Mercuri and Jeffrey Levinson
Civil Action Number: 1:12-cv-00356-PB
WHD News Release: [08/04/2015]
Contact Name: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone Number: (617) 565-2075
Release Number: 15-1357-BOS