Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department recovers more than $42,000 in overtime back wages and liquidated damages for employees of Providence, RI, fruit and vegetable wholesaler
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered a total of $42,274 in overtime pay and liquidated damages for nine employees of a Providence-based wholesaler of fruits and vegetables, resolving a lawsuit against the company and its president for allegedly violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Labor Department filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island against Al-Jacs Inc., located at 33 Hemlock St., and company president Albert R. Jacavone. An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found the FLSA violations, including failing to pay employees earned overtime pay and to maintain proper records of the number of hours worked by employees and the compensation they were paid.
“The employees in this case were low-wage, vulnerable workers, who are often exploited by employers,” said Daniel Weeks, assistant district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Providence office. “This recovery of wages should signal to all employers that when violations are found, the Labor Department will take appropriate action to ensure workers receive the wages they work hard for and deserve.”
Wage and Hour Division investigators determined that nine employees who handled and processed produce to be delivered to restaurants and stores were often forced to work overtime on Saturdays but were then paid only “straight time” in cash.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as one and one-half times their regular hourly rates of pay for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. Employers who violate these provisions are liable to pay their workers not only the amount of back pay owed but an equal amount in liquidated damages. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
A consent judgment entered by the court permanently prohibits the defendants from future violations of the FLSA’s overtime pay and recordkeeping requirements. The judgment orders the defendants to pay $21,137 owed in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, for a total of $42,274. The back wages cover the period of Feb. 22, 2007, through Oct. 17, 2009.
Because of the willful nature of the violations, the defendants, who have not admitted liability, also were ordered to pay a civil money penalty to the government totaling $3,696.
The Wage and Hour Division’s Providence office conducted the investigation, and the case was litigated by the Labor Department’s Regional Solicitor’s Office in Boston. For more information about the requirements of the FLSA, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or contact the division’s Providence office at 401-528-4431. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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