An inquiry and legal action by the Department of Labor resulted in the recovery of $120,000 in unpaid wages and compensation for 29 employees in Long Island who work in landscaping and sprinkler installation.

On May 20, 2024, the Brookhaven Irrigation Corp. was ordered to pay $10,000 in penalties for willful wage violations. This action was taken as a result of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, after an investigation by the Long Island district office. The defendants in the case were Brookhaven Irrigation Corp. and its operator, Michael Coggins, who run a landscaping and lawn sprinkler installation business in Farmingville, New York.

The department alleged that between July 2019 and July 2022, Brookhaven Irrigation Corp. did not pay its employees the required overtime rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay. Additionally, the company failed to keep accurate records of employee wages and work hours, which is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As a result of the investigation, a consent judgment was reached, and the division was able to recover $120,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 29 current and former employees. This money is currently being distributed to the affected workers. In addition, Brookhaven and Coggins were ordered to pay $10,000 in civil money penalties to the department.

The case was heard in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, with the docket number 2:22-cv-03907-AYS. Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey Rogoff in New York stated, “The U.S. Department of Labor will not hesitate to pursue legal action to ensure that all employees are compensated as required by law. This case’s resolution shows employers that not complying with federal wage law can lead to legal action with costly consequences.”

Wage and Hour Division District Director David An in Westbury, New York added, “The violations found here were willful and the penalties significant. However, such violations are preventable if employers know and follow the Fair Labor Standards Act’s pay, recordkeeping, and other requirements. We encourage Long Island employers to review their practices and contact us with questions.”

To learn more about the Wage and Hour Division and to check if you may be owed back wages, you can use their search tool. Workers can also call the division confidentially with questions, regardless of their immigration status, at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). The department can communicate with callers in over 200 languages through their toll-free helpline. Additionally, the Timesheet App for iOS and Android can be downloaded for assistance with tracking work hours.  

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