Nashua painting contractor Kevin Corriveau Painting Inc. has agreed to a preliminary court injunction preventing it from intimidating or retaliating against current or former employees involved in a federal investigation and lawsuit over payment of workers, the U.S. Labor Department announced Wednesday.
“Seeking and obtaining an injunction of this type is a rare and extraordinary step, but one that was warranted under the circumstances,” said Michael Felsen, the department’s regional solicitor of labor for New England.
In 2012, the labor department filed a lawsuit in federal court in Concord against company owner and president Kevin Corriveau, vice president Brian Corriveau and treasurer Sharon Mercuri.
An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division discovered that they violated the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and required employees to falsify time cards, according to the labor department.
While that case remains pending, the labor department in court papers alleged that in July 2014, former employees of Kevin Corriveau Painting informed the Wage and Hour Division that Kevin Corriveau and Jeffrey Levinson, who represented himself as Corriveau’s legal counsel, “harassed and intimidated workers into signing affidavits, which contained false statements,” according to a statement released by the labor department.
“The defendants provided the affidavits to the department during the discovery phase of the litigation to convince the department and the court that no violations had been committed,” according to the statement.
The labor department said the defendants agreed to the preliminary injunction without a hearing after the department filed legal papers requesting it.
Manchester attorney Mark Broth, who is representing the Corriveau business, said his client voluntarily agreed to the injunction.
As for the lawsuit’s allegations, Broth said: “The company believes there may have been a small number of payroll errors, which it has always been willing to correct. The Department of Labor claims that the problem is of a much larger magnitude. That is really the fundamental aspect of the dispute. Which is it: the smaller issue that the company believes it to be or the bigger issue that the Department of Labor has asserted?”
The injunction, according to the labor department, bans “the defendants and their agents from discriminating against any workers or witnesses in the legal proceedings; prevents them from communicating directly or indirectly with employees or former employees about issues in the case; precludes their use of the submitted affidavits; and requires the reading of a statement to all employees, in English and Spanish, informing them of their right to speak with representatives of the department without retaliation or threats.”
The Wage and Hour Division’s Manchester District Office investigated the case.