Former Decoster worker accuses egg farm of not paying for overtime

By Christopher Williams, Sun Journal
Posted April 27, 2012, at 5:40 a.m.

AUBURN, Maine — A Lewiston man who worked at the former Decoster Egg Farms in Turner is suing that owner as well as other former owners of the farm for overtime wages during a two-and-a-half year period.

Leo Sierra Flores, a Cuban immigrant, worked at the farm from December 2008 until March 2011 in various jobs, including egg packer, rail man, chauffeur, forklift operator and tractor-trailer truck loader, according to the civil complaint filed at Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Flores was paid at an hourly rate and received free housing, the complaint said.

Flores regularly worked more than 40 hours per week and sometimes worked twice that in a week, according to the suit. He was not paid the mandated time-and-a-half rate for all of the overtime hours he worked, the suit said. It was filed by Donald F. Fontaine, a Portland attorney.

Flores worked hours at the farm with no financial compensation, the suit said.

The suit names Austin J. DeCoster as the sole owner of DeCoster Egg Farm and Austin J. DeCoster Enterprises LLC in the suit as defendant, along with John Long, as sole owner of the business known as Dorothy Egg Farms LLC.

The Sun Journal was unable to locate any of the former owners or their representatives Thursday.

The suit claims that the defendants “intentionally failed and refused to pay proper wages” as required by law by using several techniques, including:

* Assigning a task, then paying only for the number of hours the owner believed the task should take.

* Paying from various sources so that no single payer was responsible for more than 40 hours of wages in a given week.

* Issuing personal checks for hours worked that didn’t appear on the pay stub of the hours officially worked in a given week in an effort to make it appear no more than 40 hours were worked in a given week.

Flores is seeking $100,000 in back wages, damages and attorney’s fees, Fontaine said.

Moark LLC, a subsidiary of Land O’ Lakes, signed a long-term lease purchase deal of the farm at the end of last year and assumed operations.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/27/business/former-decoster-worker-accuses-egg-farm-of-not-paying-for-overtime/ printed on November 28, 2014