U.S. Department of Labor

05/15/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/15/2019 10:37

Puerto Rico Security Company and Owner Liable for $324,492 in Wages and Damages After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation and Litigation

SAN JUAN, PR - The U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico has found Special Police Force Corp. - a security company based in Bayamon, Puerto Rico - and its owner Hector Rivera Ortiz liable for violations of the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Following a four-day trial, the court ordered Rivera to pay $324,492, made up of $162,246 in back wages and an equal amount liquidated damages, to 212 former employees. The order also enjoined him from future FLSA violations. This judgment follows a similar February 2018 summary judgment decision against Special Police Force Corp.

The litigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Solicitor follows an investigation by the Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), which found the company and Rivera failed to pay the minimum wage of $7.25 to some employees when they deducted the cost of uniforms from the employees' pay. They also failed to pay the time-and-one-half overtime wage rate to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a workweek and failed to maintain complete employee payroll records.

'Violations like these can and should be prevented in the first place through knowledge of and adherence to the Fair Labor Standards Act. We encourage employers to contact us with any questions they may have and to use the variety of compliance assistance tools we offer to help them understand their obligations and comply with the law,' said Wage and Hour Division Caribbean District Director Jose Vazquez.

'The U.S. Department of Labor will use all appropriate and available legal tools to enforce the law, so that workers can receive the wages to which they are legally entitled and employers who violate the law do not gain an unfair economic advantage over law-abiding competitors,' said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff.

WHD's Caribbean District Office conducted the original investigation. Attorneys Susan Jacobs and Jason Glick of the New York regional solicitor's office litigated the case for the Department.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.

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Acosta v. Special Police Force Corp., et. al.
Civil Action Numbers: 15-cv-01506-CVR

Read this news release En Español