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US Department of Labor recovers more than $485,000 in back wages for employees of New York City dollar store chain
NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered more than $485,000 in minimum wages, overtime pay, liquidated damages and post-judgment interest for approximately 120 employees of several New York City-area dollar stores. The dollar stores and their owners agreed to two partial consent judgments resolving the department's lawsuit over alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, including the failure to pay minimum wages and overtime compensation to employees who worked in excess of 40 hours a week.
The Labor Department filed suit last year in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York naming the following defendants: U.S. Dream Inc. of Iselin, N.J.; Dollar Program LLC doing business as 99 Cent Dreams of New York City; Dollar Super Inc. doing business as 99 Cent Dream of Brooklyn; Dollar One Inc. doing business as Dollar One of Brooklyn; Dollar Pack Inc. doing business as Dollar Pack of Bronx; Dollar Motion Inc. doing business as Dollar Motion of Brooklyn; Pitkin Dollar Store Inc. doing business as Dollar Xpress of Brooklyn; Dollar Does It Inc. doing business as Dollar Does It of Bronx; Dollar Moon Inc. doing business as Dollar Moon of New York City; Dollar Budget Inc. doing business as 99 Cent Dreams of Queens Village; and Dollar Street Inc. doing business as 99 Cent Dream of Jamaica, N.Y. Also named as defendants were the various owners of these companies, including Muhammad M. Abbasi, Mohammad S. Andha, Mohammed Memon, Basit H. Motiwala and Muhammad Irfan.
"We took this legal action because, in the past, these defendants have professed to operate single establishments even though they are actually operating a large, multi-establishment retail enterprise with many locations," said Maria Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division's district office in New York City. "The defendants have been failing to properly pay employees even after investigations of individual establishments put them on notice of the law's requirements."
An additional company, Dollar Ship Inc., operated by defendant Muhammad M. Abbasi, also was found in violation of the FLSA and is included in this settlement. The Labor Department is asking anyone who knows current and former employees who worked at the above-named stores between June 24, 2006, and May 31, 2010, to refer them to the Wage and Hour Division's Brooklyn office at 718-254-9410. These individuals may be due back wages as part of this settlement.
The department filed the suit following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division which found that employees working at the companies' retail stores often were paid at hourly rates less than the federal minimum wage, and were required to work more than 40 hours in many weeks without being properly compensated. The investigation also found that the companies failed to maintain adequate and accurate records of their employees, wages, hours and other conditions of employment.
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.
The consent judgments, entered by the court, permanently prohibit the defendants from future violations of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and anti-retaliation requirements. The judgments order the defendants to pay the total of $485,607 owed in back wages and damages in accordance with a payment schedule. If any of the defendants fail to make any of the payments on time, the court can appoint a receiver with the power to seize and liquidate their assets to satisfy the order. The defendants also are ordered to install timekeeping systems in their stores and train employees in their use, and to inform their employees of their rights under the law.
The New York District Office of the Wage and Hour Division conducted this investigation, and the case was litigated by the department's New York City Regional Solicitor's Office. For more information about the requirements of the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division'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. U.S. Dream Inc. et al Civil Action Number: 1:09-CV-04485
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