HRI EDITED RELEASE — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the recovery of approximately $1 million in stolen wages, damages and penalties on behalf of nearly 350 workers following New York State Department of Labor investigations of backstretch employers at racetracks in New York State.
“We have zero tolerance for wage theft and will hold accountable any employer who unlawfully withholds wages or who does anything to intimidate, threaten or deny these hardworking employees what they are owed,” Governor Cuomo said.
“We stand proudly with workers and will fight tooth and nail to protect their hard-earned wages from unscrupulous employers who break the law.”
The state Department of Labor received information alleging wage theft and sub-standard housing conditions. Wages were recovered in the following cases:
· Chad C. Brown Inc., owner Chad C. Brown violated minimum wage and overtime requirements, affecting 119 employees who acted as grooms and hot walkers. The employer is paying $526,427.35 in wages due, liquidated damages, and penalties.
Chad Brown also violated Federal and New York law by knowingly charging steep fees to workers from other countries who came to work on special visas, demanding $1,500.00 in cash per worker – that money along with the unpaid wages will be returned to the workers.
· Kiaran McLaughlin Racing Stable Inc. violated minimum wage requirements, affecting 89 employees who acted as grooms and hot walkers. The employer is paying $304,646.82 in wages due, liquidated damages and penalties.
· Linda Rice Racing violated minimum wage and overtime requirements affecting 113 employees and is paying $133,747.25 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties.
· James A. Jerkins Inc violated minimum wage requirements, affecting 17 employees, and is paying $13,991.00 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties.
Five additional employers are paying roughly $13,000 for wage theft and failing to keep proper payroll records.
The following stables to have violated NY State Labor Laws and committed wage theft. They have been ordered by the Commissioner of Labor to pay these amounts:
· Shivmangal Racing Stables LLC and Doodnauth Shivmangal violated minimum wage and overtime regulations, affecting 8 employees, and owes $179,283.44 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties.
· Leo O’Brien Stable Inc. violated record-keeping and meal period requirements, affecting two employees, and owes $88,809.78 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties. The same company has additionally paid $550 in unpaid wages to one employee.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Everyone loses when an employer engages in wage theft; the employees, other businesses that follow the rules and eventually the employer when they get caught.
“This is a reminder of our no-tolerance policy for wage theft of any kind, and that we will aggressively pursue justice and compensation for all workers whose wages have been stolen. We will not allow employers who cheat their workers out of pay to create an uneven playing field for all New York businesses. This is about fairness for workers and for businesses.”
New York State’s thoroughbred industry is an important economic driver that brings more than $3 billion annually to the state and supports nearly 19,000 jobs.
It is imperative that all businesses are given the same opportunity to thrive and that everyone who works in the thoroughbred industry is paid the proper wages they have earned.
New York State continues to ensure that all workers in the state are treated fairly and receive all of the wages they are entitled. Since Governor Cuomo took office in 2011, the State has recovered nearly $300 million in stolen wages and returned it to more than 280,000 workers.