Jose Hector Hernandez Gramajo, the owner of a company contracted to clean the United Artists Sheepshead Bay Stadium 14 Movie Theater (3907 Shore Parkway), will be spending his weekends in prison for nearly a year as punishment for underpaying employees, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Friday.
Aside from overworking employees with little pay, the dirty cleaner gave checks to workers as part of settlement for back wages. But he told those workers to cash the checks and return the money or be fired.
“This employer not only robbed his employees of a lawful wage, but also attempted to deny them back wages, even after a federal investigation into his labor abuses,” said Schneiderman in a press release. ”We will pursue full accountability, including jail time, for any employer who shows such blatant disregard for rule of law and for workers’ rights.”
Hernandez Gramajo, 37, was the owner of Royal Commercial Cleaning, which counted approximately 27 movie theaters in the tri-state area as clients before shuttering in 2012, when Hernandez Gramajo was arrested. The company was found by investigators to have been paying employees below minimum wage and failing to give overtime.
According to the attorney general’s office, Hernandez Gramajo paid his employees a flat fee of $700 to $800 twice a month, despite working them for eight hour days, seven days a week.
The state’s minimum wage recently increased to $8 an hour, and law requires that employers pay time-and-a-half for hours past 40 hours a week.
Hernandez Gramajo will spend weekends behind bars totaling 90 days, and has also been ordered to pay $60,000 in restitution to the the employees. Of that, approximately $8,000 will be paid to the two employees he gave checks as part of a previous settlement for underpayment, who he threatened with termination if the money wasn’t returned in cash.