Department of Labor recovers $71K in back wages for 25 workers after finding Florida produce provider denies minimum wage, overtime
Employer: Patel Shippers LLC
19925 SW 270th St.
Homestead, FL 33031
Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Patel Shippers LLC, which provides fruits and vegetables from India and Asia to grocery stores in 10 states, including Florida, denied 25 workers overtime wages by paying them straight-time rates for all hours worked, including for hours over 40 in a workweek. The employer also failed to pay three workers at least the federal minimum wage by not keeping an accurate record of hours worked. Their actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Back wages and liquidated damages recovered: $71,047 in back wages and liquidated damages for 25 workers.
Quote: “Employers have a legal obligation to pay workers for all the hours that they work. When they fail to do so they may owe back wages and liquidated damages,” said Wage and Hour Division Acting District Director Anthony Delgado in Miami. “We remain committed to ensuring essential protections for workers, and to providing clear and confidential compliance assistance to any worker or employer with questions.”
Background: Patel Shippers LLC delivers fruit and vegetables to grocery stores in Miami, Sunrise and West Palm Beach. The company also supplies grocers in Arizona, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
Agency investigators learned of the employer’s practices through the Employment Education and Outreach alliance. The alliance is a collaboration of community and nongovernmental organizations, including state, local, and federal agencies and Hispanic consulates that provides information and assistance to Spanish-speaking employees and employers regarding workplace rights and responsibilities. Workers and employers can reach EMPLEO by calling (877) 522-9832 or (877) 55-AYUDA.
Employers and workers alike can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE with any questions they have concerning wages and the FLSA. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including its search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division. Workers and can also track hours worked and pay by downloading the department’s Android and IOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.
Read this news release En Español.