Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department recovers $840,000 in back wages for employees of four Queens, NY, food stores
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $840,000 in minimum wages, overtime pay, and liquidated damages for 42 employees of four Queens, N.Y., retail food stores that agreed to a consent judgment resolving the department’s lawsuit over alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Labor Department filed suit in 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York naming the following defendants, all of Richmond Hill, Queens, N.Y.: Liberty Fruits & Produce Corp.; Liberty Produce Inc., doing business as Liberty Fish; Kil Family Corp., doing business as Banana Country; and Fish World II Inc., doing business as Fish World. Also named as defendants were the stores’ owner, June Hyung Kil, and manager, Tae Hyung Kil.
The department filed the lawsuit following an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division that found many of the defendants’ employees regularly worked more than 40 hours per workweek without being properly compensated for overtime hours worked. The companies also allegedly failed to pay several employees the minimum wage, and did not keep proper records of the number of hours worked by employees or the compensation they were paid.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as one and one-half times their regular hourly rates of pay for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
“This legal action demonstrates the department’s commitment to prosecute employers who violate the law by failing to properly pay their employees for all the hours they work,” said George Ference, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division’s northeast region.
The consent judgment, entered by the court, permanently prohibits the defendants from future violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and anti-retaliation requirements. The judgment orders the defendants to pay the $840,000 owed in back wages in accordance with a payment schedule. To secure these payments, the judgment grants a lien to the Labor Department on a house owned by defendant June Hyung Kil and another individual. If the defendants are found to have made any financial misrepresentations to the department, the court could appoint a receiver with the power to seize and liquidate their assets to satisfy the order.
The defendants also are ordered to inform their employees in Spanish and English of their rights under the FLSA and to place posters in both languages with the same information in locations throughout their stores where all employees may view them. In addition, they also must install and maintain mechanical or electronic timekeeping systems that accurately record the hours worked by employees and train employees in their use.
The New York District Office of the Wage and Hour Division conducted this investigation and the case was litigated by the Regional Solicitor’s Office in New York City. For more information about the requirements of the FLSA, call the Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or contact the division’s New York office at 212-264-8185. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
Solis v. Liberty Fruits & Produce Corp.
Civil Action Number: 1:08-CV-1427 (TLM)
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.