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News Release

Hiep Thai Markets pays more than $416K in back wages to workers following US Labor Department investigation

Minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping violations found

DALLAS — Investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division made sure to keep their eyes on the back door when they showed up at Hiep Thai Markets' stores in Garland and Arlington. The business, a repeat violator of federal wage and hour laws, had sent workers out the rear exit previously to keep them from speaking to agents during two prior investigations. Cheating workers out of wages and frustrating investigators seems to be their business practice.

The Wage and Hour investigation found that Hiep Thai Markets paid many of its employees less than the minimum federal wage of $7.25 per hour, with no overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Young immigrants laboring as warehouse and produce employees worked approximately 11 hours per day Monday through Saturday. They earned a flat day rate that averaged less than $6 per hour. Additionally, the company kept no records for many employees, who were paid in cash. The findings result from investigations of two facilities that discovered minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The combined back wages paid to 45 employees total $416,088.

"These violations not only hurt workers, their families and communities, but give this business an unfair competitive advantage over employers who obey the law," said Betty Campbell, acting regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. "We are seeing a disturbing trend of wage violations at grocery stores that cater to a variety of communities, many of which employ workers vulnerable to exploitation — vulnerable because of language barriers, a lack of awareness of their rights, or a fear of speaking up when those rights are violated. The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring that all workers receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus overtime at time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records. The Wage and Hour Division enforces the law without regard to immigration status, and complaints are confidential.

For more information about federal wage laws, or to file a complaint, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Dallas District Office at817-861-2150. Information also is available at

Wage and Hour Division
September 14, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Juan Rodriguez