NYC design and construction company to pay more than $700,000 in back wages after Labor Department investigation

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A New York design and construction company will pay more than $700,000 in back wages to workers as part of an agreement with the Labor Department, The New York Daily News has reported.

Design Development NYC was ordered to pay back wages and other damages to 184 employees who were misclassified as contract workers and denied overtime and other benefits, according to a consent judgment filed in federal court, the Labor Department said.

The Queens-based company — which bills itself as a one-stop-shop for renovations and design — ran afoul of federal law by declaring its workers independent contractors, according to the DOL investigation.

The affected employees included carpenters, draftspersons, drivers, electricians, laborers, painters, and plumbers and tilers.

The company also wrongfully considered three employees as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime compensation requirements.

Those workers were paid a fixed weekly salary without regard to hours worked, the DOL said.

As a result, misclassified employees and non-exempt employees — some of whom worked 70 hours per week or more — did not receive proper overtime pay, according to the consent judgment.

The FLSA requires that employees receive one-and-one-half their regular rates of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek and that employers maintain adequate and accurate records of employees’ wages and work hours.

“This resolution commits this company to positive and effective steps to prevent future violations,” the newspaper quoted Mark Watson Jr., the head of the DOL’s northeast Wage and Hour Division, as saying.

DOL noted that the company’s principals didn’t admit or deny the allegations when they entered into the consent judgment filed in Brooklyn federal court.

As part of the agreement, the company agreed to submit complete samples of time and payroll records for all employees to DOL for its review, and supply current and new employees with written notification of their rights under the FLSA in languages the workers understand.

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