Another business, another unpaid wage case. It seems as though certain industries are guiltier than others when it comes to not paying their hard workers. Employees in restaurants, home health aides, and workers at car washes frequently make the news because their employers underpay them. It is troubling to know that so many individuals are being taken advantage of but, if the reports are accurate, workers are fighting back, securing their unpaid wages, and the New York Attorney General’s (AG) office is helping.
The New York AG’s office announced that it helped to recover millions of dollars in 2016 for employees throughout New York State who were underpaid. The trend has continued into the new year. In a March 23, 2017, article, Long Island Business News (LIBN) writer, Adina Genn reported that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that his office reached a settlement with a Long Island car wash accused of not paying workers’ sufficient wages. FCN Corporation is the company that operates 5 Star Car Wash in Elmont, and Christopher Conte is the company’s manager. The AG’s office found that the parties “underpaid workers, failing to pay minimum wage and overtime.” The matter involved 16 current and former employees who will receive shares of the $154,000 settlement.
Under New York law, workers must receive at least minimum wage for the hours they work. During the time of the investigation, the lowest legal wage in Nassau County was between $8.00 and $9.00 per hour. (It is currently $10.00 per hour.) The law requires that for all hours worked over 40, employees receive overtime wages at the rate of one and a half their regularly hourly wage. According to Schneiderman, the company and Conte paid workers as little as $6.00 per hour to workers who put in over 75 hours per week, well below the minimum wage and certainly did not account for premium overtime pay.
The AG also stated that the car wash failed to give the workers “spread of hours pay.” Spread of hours pay, located in individual industry wage orders, is unique to New York and requires employers to pay workers one hour at the minimum wage rate when their workday exceeds 10 hours. Think of it as a bonus. If an employee works 10 or more hours in a day, in addition to regular pay and overtime, he or she is supposed to receive an hour of pay at the minimum wage.
In addition to paying the workers restitution, the company had to consent to certain stipulations to prevent future unpaid wage violations. As part of the settlement agreement, 5-Star must:
Workers are entitled to the money they earn. If your employer is withholding your wages, consider contacting Leeds Brown Law, P.C., representing clients on Long Island and throughout New York. Our attorneys have been recovering overtime, tips, minimum wages, and other pay for employees for decades. Find out if we can help you by calling 1-800-585-4658 today for a free unpaid wage or unpaid overtime consultation.