The court has directed an employer on Long Island, who required employees to return part of their wages, to pay $15,000 in punitive damages.

Revised:

On May 20, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a consent judgment and order in Civil Action No. 2:23-cv-02582-NJC-LGD, resolving a case involving P & B Heating & Air Conditioning Corp., Craig Napolitano, and Robert Napolitano. The court’s decision was the result of a Wage and Hour Division investigation into the company’s pay practices, which led to a settlement of $144,350 in overtime back wages for employees in October 2022.

However, the department alleges that shortly after the settlement, P & B Heating & Air Conditioning began retaliating against employees and pressuring them to kick back their wage payments. To address this, the department obtained a temporary restraining order on April 6, 2023, and later filed a complaint related to the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provisions. On April 17, 2023, the court issued a preliminary injunction on consent, extending the terms of the temporary restraining order until the department’s complaint is resolved.

Finally, on May 20, 2024, the court issued a consent judgment and order requiring P & B Heating & Air Conditioning to pay $15,000 in punitive damages to affected workers and permanently enjoining the employer from violating the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provisions. Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey Rogoff in New York stated, “This outcome serves as a reminder that the U.S. Department of Labor will take action to stop and address employers’ illegal intimidation of their workers, including obtaining punitive damages for affected workers.” Wage and Hour District Director David An in Westbury, New York added, “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to protecting workers from retaliation and intimidation. The Fair Labor Standards Act is in place to prevent workers from being forced to return their rightfully earned wages.” To learn more about the Wage and Hour Division and potential back wages, workers can use the division’s search tool or call confidentially for assistance.  

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