Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
ATLANTA -- A federal district court has ordered Chueng Kong Holding Inc., doing business as United Food, and owner Xin Guo, also known as Victor Gua, to pay 41 employees $311,905 in back wages, resolving a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging willful violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Chueng Kong Holding is a wholesale food distributor based in Clayton County, Ga.
“There is no excuse for depriving workers of their rightful wages, and law-abiding employers must not be placed at a competitive disadvantage by the evasive practices of dishonest employers who ignore their legal responsibilities to pay minimum wage and overtime compensation,” said Janet Campbell, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Atlanta District Office. “The resolution of this case demonstrates that the Labor Department will use all enforcement tools available, including litigation, to vigorously pursue violators and ensure accountability under the law.”
The Labor Department filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, following an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division. Investigators found that the company had repeatedly and willfully violated the FLSA since December 2008 by paying employees less than the federal minimum wage, and by failing to compensate workers at an overtime rate of at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for work hours exceeding 40 per week. Additionally, the company failed to maintain accurate records of employees’ hours, wages and employment conditions, as required under the FLSA.
The consent judgment permanently bars the defendants from violating the FLSA in the future and requires them to pay all back wages due in installments by November 2011. These payments must be made directly to the Labor Department, which will forward them to the affected employees using their last known address as provided by the company. If the company defaults on any of its installments, the total unpaid balance will become payable immediately. In the event that Chueng Kong Holding Inc. ceases operations, Xin Guo will be held personally liable for any unpaid balance. If the defendants violate the FLSA in the future, they will be considered in contempt of the court’s order and could incur additional penalties and costs.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The act also requires covered employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records indicating employees’ identities, work schedules, total hours worked, regular and overtime pay rates, total wages paid and other conditions of employment. All such records are subject to inspection by the Wage and Hour Division and must be made available to investigators upon request.
This case was investigated by the division’s Atlanta office, which can be reached at 404-893-4600. It was litigated by the department’s regional solicitor in Atlanta. For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available online at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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