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New York City restaurant chain to pay nearly $1 million in back wages and damages following a US Department of Labor investigation
NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordering the restaurant chain Manna's to pay a total of $956,482 in back wages and liquidated damages to 85 low-wage workers following an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division. The restaurant chain, owned by Betty Park, Kenny H. Kim and Andrew Kim, will also pay $31,952 in post-judgment interest and $39,737 in civil money penalties to the department because of the repeated and willful nature of the violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
"This was the division's second investigation of these businesses. In 2006, several of the restaurants paid more than $166,000 in back wages for similar overtime violations. The recurring and deliberate nature of these violations is unacceptable," said Maria Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division's New York City District Office. "This case demonstrates that the division will use every tool to make sure all employers come into compliance, including the assessment of civil money penalties."
Investigations by the division's New York City District Office found widespread violations by the restaurants of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements. Specifically, the restaurants paid cooks, dishwashers and cashiers flat salaries for all hours worked instead of paying them overtime at time and one-half their regular rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, as the law requires.
To ensure that the restaurant chain complies with the terms of the judgment, the department has secured a lien on property in Palisades Park, N.J., owned by defendant Park. If the defendants fail to make scheduled payments, the court can appoint a receiver to ensure that the judgment's terms are met.
"The department will not hesitate to utilize strong and innovative legal means to ensure that workers are properly compensated for their long hours of work," said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, acting regional solicitor of labor in New York.
In addition to paying the back wages owed, the restaurant chain agreed to maintain future compliance with the FLSA. The restaurants will post FLSA posters in English and any other languages spoken by employees and will inform employees of the terms of the judgment in a language they understand.
The cases were litigated on behalf of the Wage and Hour Division by the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York City.
The restaurants and their locations include the following:
- Manna's Soul Food Restaurant, 829 Broadway, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11206
- Manna's Restaurant, 956 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11207
- Manna's Soul Food Restaurant 478 Rockaway Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11207
- Manna's Soul Food Restaurant , 54 E. 125th St., New York, N.Y. 10035
- Manna's Soul Food Restaurant, 70 W. 125th St., New York, N.Y. 10027
- Manna's Restaurant, 2331 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, New York, N.Y. 10027
- Manna's Restaurant, 486 Lenox Ave., New York, N.Y. 10037
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time and one-half 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 that violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and liquidated damages payable to the workers.
For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division's New York City District Office at 212-264-8185 or call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
Perez v. Manna's Dragon Inc.; Manna's Soul Food Inc.; Octagon Star Inc.; 54 E. 125 Holding LLC; Park Grove Inc.; Park Valley Inc.; YKH Manna Food Inc.; Kenny H. Kim; Andy Kim; and Hyo Soon Park, also known as Betty Park Civil Action Number: 14-cv-03752-PAC.