Four security guard companies based in Puerto Rico, and their owners have been ordered to pay a total of $715,685 in back wages and damages to 400 employees for their willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The United States District Court in Puerto Rico issued a judgment in response to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, which found that the employers failed to pay any wages to 51 security guard employees, resulting in minimum wage violations; and paid only straight time without required overtime payment to 394 guards who worked more than 40 hours in a work week.
The court found that the defendants were joint employers and erroneously classified security guard employees as independent contractors, resulting in their failure to pay minimum wage and overtime required by the FLSA. In addition, the court ordered the companies to pay $226,442 in civil money penalties.
The court also found that the employers created false time records and provided those falsified records to the Department of Labor during its investigation, in addition to failing to maintain accurate and complete payroll records.
“This case demonstrates that the U.S. Department of Labor will use all enforcement tools available to ensure employees receive the wages they have earned, and that employers compete on a level playing field,” said a spokesman for the Department of Labor. “Employers cannot evade the requirements of the law by creating fake records, misclassifying employees and transferring their operations and employees from one company to the next.”
If you believe you are owed minimum or overtime wages, please contact Pechman Law Group at 212-583-9500 to schedule a free consultation.