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Forest Hills workers win suit for $74K back wages

Forest Hills Physical Therapy PC and Fern Toback, a corporate officer, agreed to pay 22 employees a total of $74,541 in minimum wage and overtime back wages covering the period between Jan. 9, 2005, and Nov. 1, 2007, to resolve a suit filed by the Labor Department alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the agency announced last Thursday. The physical therapy office and Toback must also pay the Labor Department a civil money penalty of $10,285.The Labor Department filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York after an investigation by the agency's Wage and Hour Division that revealed violations of the federal minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions at the business, the Labor Department said.The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage - which in New York City is $7.15 as of January 1, 2007 - as well as time and half their regular pay rates for hours worked beyond 40 hours per week. The law requires that accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of work be maintained.U.S. District Judge David Trager signed a consent judgement, which prohibits Forest Hills Physical Therapy and Toback from future violations of the minimum wage, overtime, record keeping and anti-retaliation provisions of the act, the Department of Labor said.Forest Hills Physical Therapy and Toback agreed to the entry of the judgement while neither admitting nor denying the allegations in the suit, the Labor Department said."This case should serve as a reminder to employers of low-wage workers throughout New York City that the U.S. Labor Department will not hesitate to compel them to meet legal obligations to their employees through litigation when necessary," said Philip Jacobson, director of the Wage and Hour Division's district office in the city.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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