Brookhaven Irrigation Corp. denied any wrongdoing despite being ordered to...

Brookhaven Irrigation Corp. denied any wrongdoing despite being ordered to pay workers a total of $120,000 in back wages and damages by the U.S. Department of Labor. Credit: John Roca

Brookhaven Irrigation Corp., a Farmingville-based landscaper and installer of sprinkler systems, has been ordered to pay $120,000 in back wages and damages to workers following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation and lawsuit.

The company and owner, Michael Coggins, were investigated by the department’s local Wage and Hour Division office over overtime pay issues, according to a DOL news release.

The labor agency’s Office of the Solicitor filed suit against Brookhaven Irrigation and Coggins following the investigation alleging the employer “willfully violated” the Fair Labor Standards Act’s provisions on overtime and record keeping.

The Labor Department said the company did not pay 29 workers the legally required overtime rate of one and one-half times their regular pay rate between July 5, 2019, and July 5, 2022, according to court documents. The agency also alleged that Brookhaven Irrigation failed to keep records of wages and work hours for employees.

As a result, the agency ordered the company to pay $60,000 in back wages to impacted workers, and an equal amount in damages.

Saul D. Zabell, the attorney for Brookhaven Irrigation and Coggins, called the Labor Department’s investigation and legal actions a “travesty” for his client and small business owners broadly.

“The federal government launched an investigation into my client because they terminated an employee who had assaulted his colleagues,” Zabell said.

Zabell said after the firing, the terminated employee “went door to door to every agency the government has,” in pursuit of a vendetta the employee had against the company.

“Brookhaven fought the Department of Labor for as long as they could knowing that the department has unlimited resources allocated to fighting the small businessman,” Zabell said. “We’ve settled this case and have admitted no wrongdoing.”

In addition to back wages and damages, the company also was ordered to pay $10,000 in penalties for what the agency called “willful wage violations.”

“The violations found here were willful and the penalties significant. However, such violations are preventable if employers know and follow the Fair Labor Standards Act’s pay, recordkeeping and other requirements,” David An, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Westbury, said in a statement.

“We encourage Long Island employers to review their practices and contact us with questions,” An said.

Brookhaven Irrigation Corp., a Farmingville-based landscaper and installer of sprinkler systems, has been ordered to pay $120,000 in back wages and damages to workers following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation and lawsuit.

The company and owner, Michael Coggins, were investigated by the department’s local Wage and Hour Division office over overtime pay issues, according to a DOL news release.

The labor agency’s Office of the Solicitor filed suit against Brookhaven Irrigation and Coggins following the investigation alleging the employer “willfully violated” the Fair Labor Standards Act’s provisions on overtime and record keeping.

The Labor Department said the company did not pay 29 workers the legally required overtime rate of one and one-half times their regular pay rate between July 5, 2019, and July 5, 2022, according to court documents. The agency also alleged that Brookhaven Irrigation failed to keep records of wages and work hours for employees.

As a result, the agency ordered the company to pay $60,000 in back wages to impacted workers, and an equal amount in damages.

Saul D. Zabell, the attorney for Brookhaven Irrigation and Coggins, called the Labor Department’s investigation and legal actions a “travesty” for his client and small business owners broadly.

“The federal government launched an investigation into my client because they terminated an employee who had assaulted his colleagues,” Zabell said.

Zabell said after the firing, the terminated employee “went door to door to every agency the government has,” in pursuit of a vendetta the employee had against the company.

“Brookhaven fought the Department of Labor for as long as they could knowing that the department has unlimited resources allocated to fighting the small businessman,” Zabell said. “We’ve settled this case and have admitted no wrongdoing.”

In addition to back wages and damages, the company also was ordered to pay $10,000 in penalties for what the agency called “willful wage violations.”

“The violations found here were willful and the penalties significant. However, such violations are preventable if employers know and follow the Fair Labor Standards Act’s pay, recordkeeping and other requirements,” David An, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Westbury, said in a statement.

“We encourage Long Island employers to review their practices and contact us with questions,” An said.

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