Businessman David Emami must pay workers more than $512K for ‘scheme’ to avoid paying overtime

U.S. Department of Labor       Date: February 2, 2015

Wage and Hour Division          Release Number: 15-13-SAN


PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal court has ordered local developer David Emami and three of his affiliated companies to pay 33 Portland-area employees $512,290 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages. The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon agreed with a U.S. Department of Labor investigation that found that Emami and companies Oak Grove Cinemas Inc., Barrington Management LLC and Barrington Venture LLC willfully violated the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court also held that Emami violated the anti-retaliation protections of the FLSA by threatening employees who cooperated with the department’s investigation.

“Those who flagrantly disregard basic wage obligations and then try to cover up those actions should think twice before threatening workers when they simply exercise their right to be paid fairly, as the law requires,” said Janet Herold, the department’s regional solicitor in San Francisco. “This judgment makes clear that we will not allow employers to violate the law and then try to bully their way out of trouble.”

The department concluded that those Emami employed as general maintenance, landscaping and construction workers at commercial properties he owned or maintained had two time cards for most pay periods. On one time card, an employee recorded their morning start time and a midafternoon end time. The employees immediately clocked in on a second time card to record the remainder of a day’s work hours. The workers’ duties and rates of pay remained the same each day at each work location.

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Owners of construction companies pay more than $108K in overtime back wages following US Labor Department investigation

Some employees misclassified as independent contractors

Date:  January 29, 2015

U.S. Department of Labor

Wage and Hour Division

Release Number: 14-2338-DAL

NEDERLAND, Texas — Specialty Painting & Wall Covering Inc. and M & S Enterprise have paid 22 painters and sheetrock installers $108,783 in overtime back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation revealed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions and found that workers at M & S Enterprise were misclassified as independent contractors.

The division’s Houston District Office investigated both construction companies that are jointly owned and operated and employ workers who perform painting, sheetrock installation and finishing projects. Workers of Specialty Painting & Wall Covering were paid for up to 40 hours per week with a check from that company. When workers at Specialty worked more than 40 hours in a week, they were paid for the overtime hours with a separate check from M & S Enterprise at their straight-time rate with no taxes withheld. Workers of M & S Enterprise were misclassified as independent contractors and were paid straight time for all hours worked, including overtime hours.

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US Labor Department recovers more than $87K in unpaid wages, overtime for 39 workers on federally funded construction project in Portland, Oregon

U.S. Department of Labor        Date: January 28, 2015

Wage and Hour Division          Release Number: 14-2311-SAN

PORTLAND, Ore. — Sierra Construction Co. Inc. has agreed to pay $87,239 in back wages to 39 employees who worked on The Prescott apartment building, a federally financed construction project in Portland. U.S. Department of Labor investigators found that Sierra and two of its subcontractors failed to pay the prevailing wages required by the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Sierra, the general contractor, violated the DBRA by improperly classifying workers in lower-paying positions that did not reflect all duties performed by the employees. For example, on the project carpenters and laborers spent significant time working as ironworkers, but were not paid the proper rate, which can be $7 to $15 more per hour than they were typically paid. Sierra also failed to include information listing the required DBRA wage rates in contracts with two subcontractors, who then failed to pay their employees the required prevailing wages.

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