State recovers $1.6 million in unpaid overtime from Southington company

State recovers $1.6 million in unpaid overtime from Southington company


SOUTHINGTON — The state Department of Labor has recovered $1.6 million in owed wages from a local company that tried to avoid paying overtime costs, the agency said Tuesday.

K&M Fire Protection Service, at 8 West St., classified employees as vendors when they worked more than 40 hours in an attempt to avoid paying wages and other costs when employees worked overtime, according to the labor department.

“Everyone deserves to be paid for the work they do,” said Resa Spaziani, director of the department’s wage and workplace standards division.

Spaziani’s division determined that Michael Uszakiewicz, the company’s owner, also paid “significantly lower amounts for workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, and state federal taxes” with the improper classifications, the department said in a statement.

The 121 employees of K&M Fire Protection Service were owed an average of $14,000 each in unpaid overtime earnings, the department said. Labor Commissioner Scott Jackson said the department made its findings at the conclusion of a two-year audit after receiving a complaint from an employee.

“While many of Connecticut’s employers play by the rules and pay their employees properly, this is one example where a company took advantage of its workers, as well as state and federal requirements,” Jackson said. “In these cases, failure to pay the appropriate wages, taxes, and workers’ compensation hurts not only the employees, but also undercuts law abiding businesses that do follow the laws.”

Spaziani urged employees who suspect violations to submit a complaint to the department’s website, by mail, or by calling 860-263-6790. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @reporter_savino

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