Federal investigation, litigation recovers $419K in back wages, damages for 21 workers denied overtime by Philadelphia grocery wholesaler
PHILADELPHIA – A federal investigation of the pay practices of a Philadelphia wholesaler has led the U.S. Department of Labor to obtain a consent judgment in federal court, requiring the employers to pay $419,615 to 21 workers deliberately denied overtime wages.
On August 30, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia approved a consent judgment requiring Byun Brothers Sales Inc. and president Richard Byun to pay the back wages and damages by September 29, 2023. The action follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division.
The division found the employers paid people employed as baggers and loaders a day rate and others employed as general laborers a day rate or salary. They also failed to pay the affected employees overtime for hours over 40 in a work week, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employers also violated the FLSA by failing to keep accurate records of the hours worked and amounts paid to employees.
“B&B Sales and its owner intentionally withheld overtime wages earned by 21 hard-working employees, in violation of federal law that protects their rights to be paid fully for their labor,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain in Philadelphia. “Wage theft harms employees and puts employers who comply with the law at a competitive disadvantage. The employers in this case have learned that the consequences for violating federal labor laws are serious and costly.”
The court ordered Byun Brothers Sales Inc., operating as B&B Sales, and Byun to pay $209,807 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. The employers must also pay the department $8,379 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of their violations.
“The outcome of this investigation and the litigation that followed will provide meaningful financial relief to vulnerable workers who depend on their wages to make ends meet,” explained Deputy Regional Solicitor of Labor Samantha Thomas in Philadelphia. “The U.S. Department of Labor will use every tool available to make sure workers’ rights are protected and to enforce the law.”
The division’s Philadelphia District Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney Andrea Luby with the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia filed the complaint and secured the consent judgment.
Located in Philadelphia, B&B Sales wholesales food and other grocery items for small convenience stores in the region.
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. Workers can call the division confidentially with questions or concerns – regardless of where they are from – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.