Pennsylvania business ordered to pay $150K in back wages

Department of Labor investigators found Shurina Brothers of New Kensington, Pa., failed to pay employees time-and-a-half for overtime.

A federal court has approved a consent judgment ordering a New Kensington, Pa., commercial and residential 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 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, which is a Fair Labor Standards Act violation according to the Wage and Hour division. The investigation also found Shurina Brothers also failed to record and maintain accurate daily and weekly records of total hours worked, an hourly rate of pay for workweeks in which overtime was due and total premium pay for overtime.

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 Shurina Brothers 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. “Our investigation found Shurina Brothers 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.”

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