Four Long Island heating and plumbing companies have settled a wage and hour dispute with the US Department of Labor for $1.42 million in back wages and liquidated damages.

The case involved four Long Island City plumbing and heating contractors: Danica Group LLC; Copper Plumbing & Heating LLC; Copper II Plumbing & Heating LLC and Copper III Plumbing & Heating LLC, owned by Thomas Andreadakis, Leonidas Andreadakis and Helen Andreadakis.

In addition to overtime and recordkeeping violations, the companies were found to have misclassified at least 25 employees as independent contractors, paying them a weekly salary that did not compensate the employees at time and one-half when employees worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. The defendants also frequently paid many employees late, sometimes requiring workers to wait several weeks to be paid. Finally, they maintained incomplete and inaccurate payroll records.

“Hundreds of workers were denied their lawful pay when they were not paid promptly and correctly or were misclassified as independent contractors,” said David Weil, administrator for the Wage and Hour Division. “The misclassification of employees as independent contractors deprives workers of wages and benefits they are entitled to under the law, thereby hurting our economy. It also leads to unfair competition because businesses that play by the rules operate at a disadvantage to those that don’t.”

The defendants agreed to pay the workers $710,000 in back wages covering the time period between September 2010 and April 2014, and an equal amount in liquidated damages. The judgment also includes enhanced compliance provisions that will commit the defendants to taking effective steps to improve their payroll recordkeeping, ensure employees are paid on time each week, reclassify as employees those who were previously misclassified as independent contractors and properly pay them.