The owner of three Bellport concrete supply and construction companies must pay a total of $987,591 in back wages and damages after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that the employer schemed to withhold 99 workers’ overtime pay, according to a consent judgement issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Manuel Macedo, owner of Macedo Construction Inc., Macedo Contracting Services Inc., and Odecam Concrete Supply Corp., must also pay $53,249 in civil penalties to the labor department for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“The scheme deprived their employees of nearly $491,000 in hard-earned wages over three years. Now in addition to the back wages, the employer must pay these workers an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus interest,” said David An, Director of the District Wage and Hour Division. “We encourage other employers to consider this investigation’s outcome, review their own pay practices, and contact the Wage and Hour Division to avoid similar violations. The consequences of non-compliance with federal labor laws can be serious and expensive.”
The court’s Wage and Hour Division investigation found that Macedo did not combine the hours that laborers worked at the three separate but commonly owned businesses. He instead paid workers with multiple checks – one from each company – to evade paying for overtime hours. Each check showed the employees worked less than 40 hours per week when they actually worked up to 48 hours per week. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of work hours and pay rates and did not compensate employees for travel time to job sites.
“The U.S. Department of Labor does not tolerate wage theft, which shortchanges workers and puts law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage,” said Regional Solicitor Jeffrey Rogoff. “We will pursue all appropriate and effective legal remedies, including securing liquidated damages for workers in addition to back wages.”
According to the labor department, the court’s consent judgement also includes provisions preventing Macedo and his companies from future violations and from retaliating against employees who report violations of the The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The companies must also provide workers with notices of their FLSA rights in English and Spanish.