A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea For Bronx Employer Who Retaliated Against Workers And Defrauded The State
Owner Of Recycling Company Fired Workers For Cooperating With Department Of Labor Investigation
Company Failed To Pay Workers Minimum Wage & Filed Fraudulent Records To Avoid Paying Unemployment Insurance
Schneiderman: To Cheat Workers Out Of Their Pay And Then Fire Them For Fighting Back Is Illegal
BRONX -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty plea of Alex Doljansky, CEO of DRC Group, Inc., a Bronx-based wholesale recycling center, for failing to pay workers the minimum wage, retaliating against employees who cooperated with a New York State Department of Labor investigation into the company’s labor practices, and filing false quarterly state tax returns to avoid paying unemployment insurance.
"To cheat workers out of their hard earned pay and then fire them for reporting it is not only despicable, but illegal," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "This company and its CEO will pay for flagrantly disregarding our state’s labor laws and then trying to cover up the crime."
The investigation revealed Doljansky, 54, who oversaw operations of the recycling center at 494 Hunts Point Avenue in the Bronx on a daily basis, paid workers who sorted cans below the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. After an investigation, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) issued an order requiring Doljansky and DRC Group, Inc. to pay over $350,000 in back wages, interest and penalties.
The employers appealed the ruling to the Industrial Board of Appeals, then threatened to fire four workers if they testified at the hearing on the appeal. When the workers appeared to testify despite these threats, Doljansky settled the case with the DOL and paid $240,000, but fired the four workers the next day when they showed up for work. The DOL then referred the case to the Attorney General in early 2011.
In addition to the retaliation charges, the complaint states that Doljansky and DRC Group, Inc. did not pay unemployment insurance for at least six workers. To conceal this crime, Doljansky and DRC Group, Inc. filed false quarterly tax returns with the state, leaving out the names of these workers. Doljansky and DRC Group, Inc. were arrested and arraigned on November 21, 2011.
DRC Group, Inc. pled guilty to one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing, an "E" felony; and one count of Failure to Pay Wages in Accordance with the Labor Law, an unclassified misdemeanor. Alex Doljansky pled guilty to one count each of Failure to Pay Wages in Accordance with the Labor Law, and Retaliation, both misdemeanors. The defendants agreed to pay nearly $30,000 in back wages and penalties. Both defendants were sentenced to conditional discharges.
If either defendant violates the Labor Law by failing to pay the proper wages within six years, they will face felony charges.
New York State's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. After 40 hours worked, employers are required to pay overtime at one and a half times an employee's rate of pay. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for reporting violations of the labor law.
The Attorney General recognized the Department of Labor staff for their hard work and cooperation with regards to this investigation.
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Meredith McGowan under the supervision of Labor Bureau Section Chief Felice Sontupe, Bureau Chief Terri Gerstein and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Janet Sabel and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Nancy Hoppock.