US Department of Labor recovers $1.8M in back wages, damages from New Jersey supermarkets that denied overtime to 226 workers
HACKENSACK, NJ – Three northern New Jersey supermarkets have paid more than $1.8 million in back wages and damages after federal investigators found the employers deliberately failed to pay required overtime rates to 226 employees who worked overtime at stores in Hackensack, Oakland and Waldwick.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the pay practices of D & J Enterprise LLC, J & Y Giant LLC and Waldwick Farmers Market LLC, operating as Giant Farmers Market and operated by John Lee and Diana Lee, violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, investigators determined the employers did the following:
- Paid some employees a day rate or salary, without any overtime pay for hours over 40.
- Paid other employees in checks for their first 40 hours, and cash for hours over 40, without any required overtime pay.
- Failed to include non-discretionary bonuses into the regular rate of pay, which is necessary when calculating overtime rates.
- Deducted breaks of only 20 minutes from employees’ hours worked.
The division’s investigation led to the recovery of $917,455 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages and prompted the department to assess $80,428 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of the violations.
“Supermarket and grocery workers are among some of our nation’s lowest-paid, and they depend on every dollar earned to make ends meet,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Paula Ruffin in Mountainside, New Jersey. “Giant Farmers Market’s attempt to evade federal regulations that protect workers’ rights to be paid all of their earned wages created an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors.”
D & J Enterprise LLC is based in Hackensack, J & Y Giant LLC in Oakland and Waldwick, and Farmers Market LLC is based in Waldwick.
The FLSA requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at not less than time and one-half the required rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.