Three New Jersey construction companies have entered into a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor and will pay $850,000 in back wages and damages to 153 workers to resolve violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators found that DKNJ Masonry Corp., Roy Rock LLC and Silver Construction Inc., based out of East Orange, New Jersey, violated the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping provisions.
Investigators found that the companies and their owner failed to pay overtime at time-and-a-half when employees worked more than 40 hours. Instead, the employer paid for overtime hours at straight-time rates and failed to keep adequate records of hours worked. The DOL found DKNJ violated the law by hiding overtime in a separate payroll of another company, Silver Construction. Silver shared the same space, staff and management as DKNJ Masonry/Roy Rock. Investigators determined the second company was used to evade FLSA requirements.
“The construction industry is highly competitive. A company that avoids paying legally required wages gains an unfair advantage over its competitors,” said a Department of Labor spokesman. “Our goal is to ensure that workers receive the wages they have earned and that law-abiding businesses can compete fairly in the marketplace,” added another Department of Labor spokesman.
The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time-and-one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
Pechman Law Group has obtained successful settlements for construction workers in New York and New Jersey in which employers failed to pay their workers overtime wages at one- and one-half times their regular hourly rate for weekly hours worked over forty. One typical unlawful pay practice is when construction companies pay a salary, or a day rate, in order to avoid paying overtime after 40 hours. Other common wage theft violations include requiring construction workers to work off the clock and failure to reimburse workers for necessary workplace materials and equipment.