Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Ontario, Calif., noodle maker ordered to pay $208,864 for labor violations
US Department of Labor helps recover back wages for low-wage workers
WEST COVINA, Calif. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in federal court ordering Ontario noodle manufacturer and distributor Rama Food Manufacture Corp., and officers Karen Trang Ving and Jonathan Ving, to pay 36 current and former employees $195,400 in back wages and liquidated damages. The judgment resolves an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found the company willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions.
The division established that employees were paid straight time for all hours worked and did not receive an overtime premium for hours worked beyond 40 per week, as required by the FLSA. In addition, the employer violated the FLSA’s record-keeping provision by failing to create and maintain required time and payroll records.
“When employers fail to pay their workers properly, it can be devastating, especially for low-wage workers who may be struggling to pay their rent, medical bills or child-care costs,” said Eric Williams, assistant director of the Wage and Hour Division’s West Covina District Office. “Liquidated damages will double every dollar the employer failed to pay when those wages were originally due. That provides some justice for these workers and helps to level the playing field for employers who are paying their workers properly.”
In addition to requiring the payment of the back wages and liquidated damages, the consent judgment enjoins the defendants from violating the FLSA in the future and requires them to pay $13,464 in civil money penalties. Penalties and damages were assessed after investigators found the employer had labor standards posters at its facility, showing that they were aware of current labor laws, yet continued to commit willful violations of the FLSA.
Under the consent judgment, Rama Food is also required to provide annual employee training on federal labor laws and must display a notice of the department’s findings in both English and Spanish in areas highly visible to employees.
Rama Food Manufacture Corp. produces and packages fresh rice stick noodles to wholesale distributors, markets and restaurants nationwide.
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 rates 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. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are generally liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, which are paid directly to the affected employees.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The department was represented by its regional Office of the Solicitor in Los Angeles. For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its West Covina office at 626-966-0478. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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