ORLANDO, FL – Investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor of 11 central Florida heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractors have recovered more than $113,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 169 workers whose employers’ illegal pay practices denied them their full wages.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators identified a wide variety of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by the contractors that undercut their employees’ wages. Some failed to include bonuses and commissions in workers’ rates of pay when calculating overtime and, as a result, paid overtime at rates lower than those permitted by law for hours over 40 in a workweek.
Investigators found that other contractors failed to combine hours of work when employees performed different jobs for the same employer. For example, an employer paid workers by the hour for work on new construction and on a piece-rate basis for direct service to customers but did not combine the hours worked each week for the purpose of determining and paying overtime due. In another violation of overtime regulations, an employer awarded employees compensatory time off on an hour-for-hour basis for hours over 40 in a workweek, when the law requires these workers be paid a time-and-one-half rate.
In all of the investigations, the division cited employers for failing to keep accurate payroll records.
The 11 investigations included six entities owned by David Cox, Ryan Cox and Richard Allard, and operated as either One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning or Ben Franklin Plumbing. Other entities investigated include Air Source America Inc., owned by Jason M. Buehler and operated as Buehler Air Conditioning; Barineau Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., owned by Patrick Barineau and operated as Barineau Heating & Air Conditioning; Sun Kool Air Conditioning Supply LLC, owned by Frank Nicholson III and operated as Sun Kool Heating and Air; Swamp Heating and Air LLC, owned by Maria V. Radziminski and operated as Gator Heating and Air Conditioning; and Weather Engineering, owned by James Daniel Griffin and operated as A+ Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.
Air Source America Inc.
Barineau Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.
ATM 241 LLC
Sun Kool Air Conditioning Supply LLC
ATM 175 LLC
Swamp Heating and Air LLC
ATM P362 LLC
South Daytona Beach
ATM 167 LLC
ATM 6 LLC
ATM P214 LLC
“Employers who fail to pay their workers all of their rightfully earned wages make it more difficult for employees and their families to make ends meet,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida. “The violations found in these investigations of HVAC companies in central Florida could have been avoided. We encourage employers and employees with questions about compliance with federal wage laws to contact us for more information.”
Employment of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to grow 5 percent by 2030, adding more than 38,000 HVAC jobs each year.
“Employers who do not respect their workers’ rights will likely struggle to retain and recruit the people they need to remain competitive, as workers look for opportunities with employers that do,” De Jesús added.
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. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
For information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.