Long Island body shop settles to avert collision with DOL

Farmingdale Auto Collision and its owners have agreed to settle charges the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying overtime pay as required by the law.

According to investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the body shop paid workers for the first 40 hours they worked in a week by check and then paid them straight time—or sometimes less—in cash, for any hours they worked over 40.

The company agreed to pay $306,000 in back pay and liquidated damages to 21 employees affected by the scheme.

Investigators also determined that Farmingdale Auto Collision failed to keep accurate records of the time the employees worked resulting in another FLSA violation.

Note: Unlawful wage-and-hour schemes like this are based on the premise that employees will keep quiet because they are essentially receiving overtime pay under the table. But when employers start stiffing employees out of overtime pay, that ticks off employees, making it almost certain that someone will file a complaint.

The best approach: Just pay employees what they are entitled to under the law. Taking the high road ultimately leads to fewer headaches in the long run.