A U.S. Department of Labor investigation uncovered the labor law...

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation uncovered the labor law violations.  Credit: Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

Three Bellport concrete supply and construction companies and their owner have been ordered to pay nearly $1 million in back wages and damages to employees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Manuel Macedo, owner of Macedo Construction Inc., Macedo Contracting Services Inc., and Odecam – Macedo spelled backwards – Concrete Supply Corp., has been ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to pay a total of $987,591 in back wages and damages to 99 laborers.

Macedo must also pay over $53,000 in civil penalties to the Labor Department for violations of labor law.

Matthew Cohen, a Woodbury-based attorney for Macedo, declined to comment Thursday.

The order comes after an investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Macedo and his companies had failed to combine the hours laborers worked at the three commonly owned businesses, the department said in a news release.

The investigation, originally conducted by the division’s Long Island District Office, found that Macedo and his companies paid laborers with multiple checks from the different firms to "evade overtime requirements." The separate checks each showed employees worked less than 40 hours per week, but when combined, employees had actually worked up to 48 hours per week, the labor agency said.

In addition, the firms did not pay workers for time spent traveling from the companies’ work yards to jobsites, and failed to keep accurate pay records, the release said.

All told, the practices deprived employees of nearly $491,000 in wages over a three-year period between February 2018 and February 2021, according to court documents.

"Now, in addition to the back wages, the employer must pay these workers an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus interest," David An, Wage and Hour Division director in Westbury, said in a statement.

"We encourage other employers to consider this investigation’s outcome, review their own pay practices and contact the Wage and Hour Division to avoid similar violations," An said. "The consequences of non-compliance with federal labor laws can be serious and expensive."

In addition to back wages and penalties, Macedo and his companies are required to provide employees with notices of their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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