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Court orders Long Island stable to pay $132,000 to workers in back wages, damages

Danny Gargan is seen at Churchill Downs in

Danny Gargan is seen at Churchill Downs in May 2019, in Louisville, Ky. Credit: AP/Gregory Payan

A federal court ordered a Long Island thoroughbred horse racing stable to pay more than $132,000 in back wages and damages to 52 workers at Belmont and Aqueduct racetracks and other locations, the U.S. Department of Labor said Monday.

Gargan Stables Corp. of Bellerose and owner Danny Gargan paid some employees a fee per horse handled and not an hourly rate as stated in their payroll records, the Labor Department said. They falsified payroll records to give the appearance that employees were paid by the hour when they were not, the agency said.

Gargan and his stable also failed to pay workers overtime, according to the Labor Department.

"The defendants took advantage of their employees by underpaying them and then tried to hide this illegal behavior by falsifying their payroll records," said David An, district director of the department's wage and hour division. "Gargan Stables Corp. and Danny Gargan have learned that disregard for federal labor laws and their employees’ rights have costly consequences."

Gargan did not immediately return calls for comment.

The court affirmed the department’s assessment of $37,368 in civil penalties for willful wage theft and falsifying records, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Denis Hurley of the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip also entered a consent judgment ordering Gargan and the stable to pay $66,315 in back wages and a nearly equal amount in liquidated damages — for a total of $132,631 — to the 52 workers. Gargan admitted that he violated the Fair Labor Standards Act in the consent agreement dated Jan. 7.

The court also is requiring Gargan Stables to hire a monitor at its own expense to review its payroll practices, recommend changes to any noncompliant practices and take steps to ensure work hours are properly recorded. The stable is also required to post signs, in English and Spanish, explaining to employees their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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