Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department obtains court appointment of receiver to compel New York City delicatessen owner to pay employees court-ordered back wages
NEW YORK -- A federal judge in New York has granted a petition by the U.S. Department of Labor to appoint a receiver to compel New Blue Flowers Gourmet Inc., doing business as New Blue Flower Deli, and owner Byung N. Lim to comply with a previous court order requiring the New York delicatessen to pay employees back wages and liquidated damages.
In 2007, the Labor Department filed suit against Lim and his deli, located at 5 E. 47th St., Manhattan, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that disclosed violations of the minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage as well as time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The law also requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.
A consent judgment, signed by Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in early 2008, prohibited Lim and his deli from future violations of the minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping and anti-retaliation provisions of the FLSA, and ordered Lim to pay 15 employees a total of $42,355 in back wages and liquidated damages. The judgment, with which the defendants agreed to comply, stated that if the defendants failed to make the payments, the court would appoint a receiver with power to seize and liquidate their assets to satisfy the order.
Subsequently, Lim made partial payment of the amounts due but failed to pay a balance totaling $11,057. Repeated efforts by the Labor Department to get the defendant to comply with the court order and pay the balance owed to the workers were unsuccessful. Therefore, the department’s attorney returned to Judge Cedarbaum requesting enforcement of her court order with the appointment of a receiver, a request that the judge recently granted.
“It was the threat of the court-appointed receiver seizing and liquidating Mr. Lim’s assets to satisfy the previous judgment that convinced him to finally pay his employees what he owed them,” said Philip Jacobson, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s district office in New York City. “It’s unfortunate that we had to go to such lengths to compel this employer to live up to his legal obligations. However, we would not hesitate to do it again, and other employers of vulnerable workers in the city should be aware of that.”
The Wage and Hour Division office in Manhattan investigated this case, and the legal action was taken by the Labor Department’s Regional Solicitor’s Office in New York City. For more information about the requirements of the FLSA, contact the division in Manhattan at 212-264-8185 or call its toll-free helpline at 866-US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet atwww.wagehour.dol.gov.
Civil Action Number: 1:07-CV-757-MGC
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