Phila. man sues fire restoration co. over alleged FLSA violations

By Jon Campisi | Sep 2, 2013

A Philadelphia man is suing a fire restoration company over allegations

that the defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when it failed to give him overtime pay during his time employed by the company.

Lester Strimel filed suit on Aug. 29 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Guardian Restoration Inc., which specializes in emergency fire restoration, water cleanup and mold removal services to clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Strimel worked as a fire restoration technician, performing tasks such as manual labor associated with the repair of homes that had been damaged by fire, water and mold, the lawsuit states.

He worked for the defendant from about December 2010 to December 2011, and again from approximately February of this year to this past May.

The complaint accuses Guardian Restoration of failing to pay the plaintiff overtime wages for his working more than 40 hours in a given week; the suit says Strimel regularly worked between 72 to 84 hours per week.

The defendant’s failure to pay Strimel overtime constitutes violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act, the suit contends.

The complaint further alleges that prior to filing litigation, Strimel invited the defendant to “amicably resolve this matter,” but that the company ignored the invitation.

“In failing to pay Plaintiff compensation, including overtime premium compensation, Defendant acted willfully and with reckless disregard of clearly applicable FLSA and PMWA provisions,” the complaint reads.

During his first stretch with the company, the suit says, Strimel was paid a weekly salary of $450 plus commissions, and he was later paid $500 plus commissions while employed by the defendant earlier this year.

The plaintiff seeks unpaid wages, liquidated damages, litigation costs, expenses, attorneys’ fees and other relief.

Strimel is being represented by attorneys Peter Winebrake, R. Andrew Santillo and Mark J. Gottesfeld, of the Montgomery County law firm of Winebrake & Santillo.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-05082-RB.

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