(NEWS10) – Approximately $1 million in stolen wages, damages and penalties will be paid back to nearly 350 backstretch workers, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The state Department of Labor received information alleging wage theft and sub-standard housing conditions and conducted an investigation across all New York racetracks including Saratoga.
According to the Governor, wages were recovered in the following cases:
- Chad C. Brown Inc., owner Chad C. Brown violated minimum wage and overtime requirements, affecting 119 employees who acted as grooms and hot walkers. The employer is paying $526,427.35 in wages due, liquidated damages, and penalties. Chad Brown also violated Federal and New York law by knowingly charging steep fees to workers from other countries who came to work on special visas, demanding $1,500.00 in cash per worker – that money along with the unpaid wages will be returned to the workers.
- Kiaran McLaughlin Racing Stable Inc. violated minimum wage requirements, affecting 89 employees who acted as grooms and hot walkers. The employer is paying $304,646.82 in wages due, liquidated damages and penalties.
- Linda Rice Racing violated minimum wage and overtime requirements affecting 113 employees and is paying $133,747.25 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties.
- James A. Jerkins Inc violated minimum wage requirements, affecting 17 employees, and is paying $13,991.00 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties.
Five additional employers are paying roughly $13,000 for wage theft and failing to keep proper payroll records according to the state.
The investigation revealed the following stables violated NY State Labor Laws and committed wage theft. They have been ordered by the Commissioner of Labor to pay these amounts:
- Shivmangal Racing Stables LLC and Doodnauth Shivmangal violated minimum wage and overtime regulations, affecting 8 employees, and owes $179,283.44 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties.
- Leo O’Brien Stable Inc. violated record-keeping and meal period requirements, affecting two employees, and owes $88,809.78 in unpaid wages, liquidated damages and penalties. The same company has additionally paid $550 in unpaid wages to one employee.
“Everyone loses when an employer engages in wage theft; the employees, other businesses that follow the rules and eventually the employer when they get caught. This is a reminder of our no-tolerance policy for wage theft of any kind, and that we will aggressively pursue justice and compensation for all workers whose wages have been stolen. We will not allow employers who cheat their workers out of pay to create an uneven playing field for all New York businesses. This is about fairness for workers and for businesses,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon.