NEW YORK – A Long Island construction contractor who often directed laborers and masons to work 10-hour days, five or six days a week, knew the Fair Labor Standards Act required employees to receive overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours per week, but disregarded the law.
Now, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has ordered Maio Building Corp. and owner John Maio to pay 69 employees $500,000 – $250,000 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages – to resolve violations of the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the defendants paid employees in quarter day increments based on an assigned day rate. This practice resulted in violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but the employer failed to pay them overtime, continuing to pay the employees based on their day rate. Maio also paid employees in cash or a combination of check and cash, and failed to keep accurate records of employees’ work hours and regular hourly rate of pay.
The consent judgment is the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the department’s Office of the Solicitor. In addition to the payment of the back wages and damages to the employees, the judgment prohibits the defendants from:
- Future violations of the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
- Taking retaliatory action against employees who exercise their FLSA rights.
- Telling any of their employees not to speak with or provide untruthful information to U.S. Department of Labor investigators.
- Soliciting or accepting the return or kick back of the wages and damages from the affected employees.
- Threatening or implying adverse action against any employees or former employees because of their receipt of funds due under the judgment or the FLSA.
- Otherwise obstructing or interfering with any department investigative activities.
The judgment also orders the defendants to post at their Medford storage yard a notice, in English and Spanish, of employees’ rights under the FLSA.
“This employer’s failure to pay its employees all the wages they legally earned not only shortchanges the workers, it also places law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David An in Westbury, New York. “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to protecting workers’ essential rights, and to informing employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities. We strongly encourage anyone with questions to call us confidentially to speak directly with a trained professional.”
“Employers have a legal responsibility to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. The U.S. Department of Labor continues to pursue appropriate and effective legal remedies, including filing suit in Federal court, to ensure employees are paid for all their hard work and employers who violate the law come into compliance,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.
The division’s Long Island District Office conducted the original investigation. Senior Trial Attorney David M. Jaklevic of the department’s regional Office of the Solicitor in New York litigated the case for the division.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). 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.
Walsh v. Maio Building Corp. and John Maio
Civil Action No. 19-cv-3435