Nowadays, the hr community is seeing more instances of federal and state agencies exercising their abilities to imprison company owners, directors, officers, managers and supervisors for violations of wage-and-hour laws.
The latest example is Elisa Parto, a Port Chester, NY, restaurant owner. She was arrested and arraigned on charges that she failed to pay minimum wage and overtime to employees who worked more than 70 hours per week.
Even though this is Parto’s first offence, she now faces several counts of wage-and-hour violations, and a maximum jail term of one year, plus fines of $5,000 for each count, as well as restitution to five employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act says a wage-and-hour violator can’t be jailed until a second offense, however, New York’s laws are much more stringent. Wage-and-hour violators in the state can receive up to a $20,000 fine or up to one year in prison for a first offense.
The NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman put employers on notice, saying his office will look to aggressively enforce state law in response to this case.
Bottom line: Employers must be sure to follow all of the proper state laws, for the dangers associated with falling out of compliance with wage-and-hour laws are growing.