Hey Compliance Warriors!
Lately, landscapers have been on the hit list for the US DOL. Here is yet another cautionary tale for employers from all industries, but especially landscaping and construciton.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Belko Landscaping LLC failed to pay some employees one and one-half times their required rates of pay for hours over 40 in a workweek. Instead, the employer paid workers straight-time rates for overtime hours worked. Belko also failed to record work hours for some workers accurately.
Belko Landscaping LLC and its president, John Belko, also paid $14,231 in civil money penalties due to the willful nature of the violations.
“Paying straight-time rates for overtime hours worked shortchanges workers of the hard-earned wages they need to make ends meet, and violates the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Wage and Hour District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Unfortunately, these types of violations are common in the landscaping services industry. We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division about their responsibilities and workers to contact the agency with questions about their rights.”
“As this case shows, the cost of violating the law can be high for employers who willfully deny workers the wages they have earned. In cases such as this, the department will seek to hold employers accountable for paying their workers the wages they owe them and seek an equal amount in liquidated damages because the employees have been without use of their hard-earned wages for a period of time,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Maia Fisher in Boston.
In its consent judgment, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire requires the payment of the wages and damages, and enjoins the business and its owner from future violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping and anti-retaliation provisions. It also requires them to provide current and future employees with information on the FLSA’s overtime requirements in English and Spanish.
View the complaint and consent judgment.
In fiscal year 2021, more than 280 Wage and Hour Division investigations recovered $1.2 million for more than 1,000 workers in the landscaping services industry.
Lisa Smith, SPHR, SCP
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