NEW KENSINGTON, PA – A federal court has approved a consent judgment ordering a New Kensington landscaping company and its owner to pay $150,000 in back wages and penalties after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found the employer willfully denied overtime pay to its workers.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that – from Jan. 11, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2020 – Shurina Brothers LLC and owner Christopher Shurina failed to pay employees time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The employer instead paid straight-time rates off the books for overtime hours, a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. Shurina Brothers also failed to record and maintain accurate daily and weekly records of total hours worked, hourly rate of pay for workweeks in which overtime was due and total premium pay for overtime.
Following litigation by the department’s Office of the Solicitor, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh ordered the company and its owner to pay a total of $61,124 in overtime back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to the affected workers. The court also ordered them to pay $27,751 in civil money penalties for their willful violations.
“Landscaping employees are often among the most vulnerable in the nation’s workforce,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director John DuMont in Pittsburgh. “Our investigation found Shurina Brothers LLC and owner Christopher Shurina shortchanged these workers of their rightful wages. In addition to harming their workers, the employer gained an unfair competitive advantage by ignoring their legal obligations.”
“The successful investigation and litigation should remind workers that we will defend their legal rights to be paid for all hours worked and take action against employers who disregard the law willfully,” said Adam Welsh, Counsel for Wage and Hour with the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia.
In addition to requiring payment of the back wages, liquidated damages, penalties and interest, the consent judgement enjoins the defendants from future violations of the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
Based in New Kensington, Shurina Brothers LLC provides residential and commercial landscaping services.
The division’s Pittsburgh District Office conducted the investigation and the department’s regional Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia litigated the case.
Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.