Professional Building Mantenance Corp. in Lindenhurst is accused of willfully failing...

Professional Building Mantenance Corp. in Lindenhurst is accused of willfully failing to pay over 50 employees proper overtime rates. Credit: Johnny Milano

A Lindenhurst janitorial services firm has been forced to pay more than $333,000 to employees after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found the company failed to pay workers proper overtime rates.

Professional Building Maintenance Corp., which provides commercial floor maintenance, window cleaning and post-construction cleanup services, was ordered to pay 51 employees back wages and damages that doubled the amount owed to workers, the federal Labor Department said Monday. The company was found to be issuing separate checks to workers  to cover up its failure to pay required overtime rates, the agency said.

“We deny the allegations and resolved this case in order to avoid the costs of further litigation,” said David Feather, a Garden City-based attorney representing the company.

After an investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, the agency said that company employees worked “as many as 80 hours per week or more” and that Professional Building Maintenance and owner Brady Patruno regularly paid workers straight-time hourly  rates instead of overtime pay.

In total, investigators recovered $166,702 in back wages and an equal amount in damages. Additionally, the federal agency levied $15,432 in civil penalties.

“Employers who wrongly believe they can disregard the law and deprive workers of their hard-earned wages will face significant consequences when their illegal actions are discovered,” David An, Wage and Hour Division district director for the agency’s Westbury office, said in a statement.

“Workers and employers with questions about their rights and responsibilities under federal law should feel free to contact the Wage and Hour Division,” An said.

To circumvent paying the appropriate wage rates, the company would issue workers who racked up overtime more than one check. The first check, issued by the company’s official payroll, would cover the first 40 hours a week worked by employees, and a second check, issued by another account, would pay workers for the hours they worked in excess of 40 hours, the department said.

The second checks, which did not include the required time-and-a-half pay rate, were made payable by a second bank account or from “straw corporations” the company passed off as subcontractors, the Labor Department said.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that most employees nationwide be paid an overtime rate of not less than time and one-half the required rate of pay for all hours over 40 in a workweek.

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