US Department of Labor Issues $164,000 in back-wages for Westhampton, New York's Gabreski Airport

According to The Southampton Press, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced that it has secured more than $164,000 in back wages owed to employees who were contracted to work on a $5 million dollar federally funded project at the Air National Guard base at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton.  An investigation was initiated by the Department of Labor in 2008 which determined that 28 employees hired by three contractors to repair the ANG’s helicopter maintenance facility and engine shop at the Suffolk County airport were not paid prevailing wages because their employers had misclassified them. A spokesman for the US Department of Labor, Ted Fitzgerald, stated that the employees were paid as laborers even though they were actually doing the work of union carpenters and sheet metal workers.  As a result of the misclassification, the employees were paid between $14 and $30 less an hour than what they were supposed to get under federal law.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York’s wage and hour laws are one type of test used to classify whether an employee is exempt or nonexempt is based on salary amounts. Workers who are paid below the minimum wage for example, are not exempt, regardless of the types of job duties they perform. This applies to a person’s total gross salary, and is not affected by whether the employee is working on a full-time or part-time basis. The salary test does not apply to teachers, doctors, and lawyers.  Additionally, the FLSA overtime pay rules do not apply to blue-collar workers (such as construction workers, mechanics, and electricians), and are considered to be nonexempt, no matter how highly they are paid.  If you are being paid by a salary which at or above the minimum standard, you must still inspect your job duties to determine whether or not you are an exempt employee. See: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-flsa.htm

See: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm#EmplRights

Leeds Morelli & Brown, PC, attorneys have extensive experience handling overtime claims and wage and hour law violations, including violations resulting from the improper classification of employees. Our wage and hour law and overtime violations representations extend to client throughout Long Island, the New York Metropolitan area, and even across the country. For more information, contact Leeds, Morelli and Brown, PC at 1-800-585-4658 for a free consultation.