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Body shop agrees to pay $306,000 to settle alleged wage violations

The owners of Farmingdale Auto Collision have agreed

The owners of Farmingdale Auto Collision have agreed to pay $306,000 to settle alleged wage violations. Credit: Google Maps

The department sued Farmingdale Auto Collision Inc. in 2016 after an investigation showed the company failed to pay workers overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week, according to court documents. And the department alleged that the company didn’t keep accurate payroll records. The violations occurred from June 2012 to June 2015, the department said. The consent decree was filed Feb. 1 of this year.

The suit names the company, and its owner, Joseph Verdi. An online listing said the company has closed. The department said it believed the business had been sold.

Verdi couldn’t be reached for comment. The attorney for the company, Frank W. Brennan of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana in Uniondale, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

In a settlement, a company neither admits nor denies guilt.

The agreement calls for the workers to receive $153,000 in back wages and an equal amount in damages.

The department alleged that the auto shop failed to keep accurate records.

“Defendants’ payroll records showed that most auto body shop employees worked 40 hours every week, regardless of the actual number of hours they worked,” the complaint said.

The department’s Long Island office conducted the investigation, which found that the workers were “typically” paid by check for their first 40 hours of a workweek; for hours beyond that, many were paid in cash at their regular hourly rate or less, the court documents say. Federal laws mandate hourly workers earn one and half times their regular hourly rate when they work more than 40 hours.

“Employers that pay employees less than what they have legally earned shortchange these hardworking people and gain an unfair advantage over competitors that abide by the law,” said Irv Miljoner, who heads the Long Island office.

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