Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department sues Bronx, NY, Chinese supermarkets and executives to recover minimum wage, overtime back wages and damages for employees
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor has sued two Chinese supermarkets located in the Bronx and their corporate president and vice president for allegedly violating the minimum wage, overtime pay and recordkeeping requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Named as defendants in the department’s lawsuit, which has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, are: Chang Li Supermarket Inc., doing business as Chang Li Supermarket and located at 1439 Unionport Road, Bronx; Chang Li Supermarket Parkchester Inc., also doing business as the same Chang Li Supermarket; and Chung Lee Supermarket Inc., operating as Chung Lee Supermarket located at 1649 Tillotson Ave., Bronx; Sheng Chao Jiang, president of the corporations; and Xiao Quan Li, vice president of the corporations.
The suit states that approximately 88 employees of these supermarkets often were paid less than the federal minimum wage and required to work more than 40 hours during many workweeks without being compensated properly for the overtime hours worked. The defendants also were found to have willfully failed to keep adequate and accurate records of hours worked by employees and wages paid to employees.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular hourly rates of pay for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
“These workers provided honest labor and should have received at least the federal minimum wage,” said Maria Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s district office in New York City. “Our suit puts other employers of low-wage workers on notice that we will not hesitate to take legal action to enforce the law. Since this case alleges willful violations of the law, we are seeking the back wages owed to these workers plus an equal amount in liquidated damages.”
The department’s suit charges the defendants with willful and repeated violations of the minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the FLSA since at least May 1, 2007. The suit asks the court to permanently prohibit the defendants from future violations of the law and to order them to pay employees minimum wage and overtime back wages due, along with an equal amount in liquidated damages or prejudgment interest.
Current and former employees of these supermarkets who believe they might be due back wages from these employers are encouraged to contact the New York City District Office of the Wage and Hour Division at 646-587-5300. The same office conducted the investigation in this case and the department’s suit was filed by its regional solicitor’s office in New York City. For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
Solis v. Chang Li Supermarket Inc.; Civil Action Number: 10-CV-5349
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