For the third time since 2012, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has been sued by the United States Department of Labor for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 by his KDE Equine LLC, which does business as Asmussen Racing Stable.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on June 7, alleges that Asmussen's hot walkers and grooms working at Belmont Park and Saratoga are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars for unpaid overtime pay and that the stable has falsified timesheets.
Asmussen was first sued by the Department of Labor in New York in 2012 and again in Kentucky in 2015. Both suits were settled.
“Since January 2013, Defendants have been enjoined by this Court to comply fully with the Fair Labor Standards Act,” the latest filing reads. “Despite affirmatively recognizing and agreeing to comply with the FLSA as part of their resolution of previous overtime and recordkeeping violations, Defendants continue to willfully withhold from employees hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages owed for long hours caring for Defendants' prize-winning horses.”
The suit alleges the stable “wrongfully” pays flat salaries instead of adhering to labor law requiring overtime after 40 hours worked. It states Asmussen hot walkers routinely work 46.5 hours per week over seven days while grooms typically work a minimum of 60 hours.
“Defendants create falsified timesheets that consistently underreport the number of hours worked by hot walkers and groomers each week, and incorrectly report the start and stop times,” the suit alleges.
Employees often are not given time sheets to review or sign and sometimes are required to sign blank or incomplete sheets, according to the complaint.
The suit also alleges the stable does not adhere to terms and conditions of the H-2B visa program that permits temporary employment of foreign workers.
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