U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Recovers $350,884 in Back Wages And Damages for 20 Employees of New Jersey Supermarket
UNION CITY, NJ – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), R&J Supermarket Corp. – based in Union City, New Jersey – will pay $175,442 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 20 employees for violations of overtime, minimum wage, and record keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department also assessed the employer with a $5,491 civil penalty for the willful nature of its violations.
WHD investigators found that R&J Supermarket Corp. – doing business as Supermarket La Roca - paid employees flat salaries without regard to the number of hours they actually worked in a workweek. This practice caused minimum wage violations when those salaries failed to cover the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and caused overtime violations when those workers exceeded 40 hours in a workweek, yet were not paid overtime in addition to their salaries. The employer also paid some employees completely off the books, in cash, creating recordkeeping violations.
"Simply paying an employee a salary does not relieve an employer of its obligation to ensure that employees are paid the wages they have legally earned for all the hours they have worked," said Northern New Jersey Wage and Hour Division District Office Director John Warner. "We encourage all employers to make use of the many tools that we provide to help them understand their responsibilities. Violations like these, along with the fines and damages that may result, can be avoided."
The company will install a time clock to record employee hours worked.
Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.