A Southampton Landscaping Company to Pay $1.1M for H-2B, Overtime Violations

A Southampton landscaping company failed to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and the federal H-2B worker program and will recover over $1 million in back wages and liquidated damages for 54 underpaid workers, according to U.S. Department of Labor.

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A Southampton landscaping company failed to comply with requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the federal H-2B worker program and will recover over $1 million in back wages and liquidated damages for 54 underpaid workers, according to a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

The investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that over a three-year period, Dario’s Landscaping & Masonry, doing business as Dario’s Landscaping, violated the FLSA when it did not pay employees any overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek and provided false records to division investigators to attempt covering up wage violations.

“Unfortunately, H-2B program workers are vulnerable to being shortchanged by employers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David An in Westbury, N.Y. “H-2B employers that willfully disregard the law could face debarment and costly penalties.”   

The division found that between October 2018 and October 2021, the employer failed to pay H-2B workers the correct rate, threatened that H-2B workers would not be rehired if they cooperated with division investigators and coached workers to give false testimony. These actions violated the requirements of the H-2B worker program, which allows businesses to employ workers on temporary visas for seasonal labor.

On Feb. 16, 2024, a federal judge issued a consent judgment, requiring Dario’s Landscaping to pay $484,690 in FLSA back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 54 workers. On Jan. 22, 2024, an administrative law judge approved H-2B consent findings, ordering Dario’s Landscaping to pay an additional $31,710 in back wages to 29 of the workers. Dario’s Landscaping will also pay civil money penalties of $98,908. In total, the employer will pay $1.1 million, plus $12,021 in post-judgment interest, and will be debarred from the H-2B program for one year. The order also requires that Dario’s Landscaping engages a compliance consultant, trains managers and educates workers about their rights.

The federal H-2B worker program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the U.S. The employment must be for a limited period, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal, peak load or intermittent need.

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.