Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Queens-based, NY, supermarket chain to pay $372,172 in back wages, damages to 18 grocery baggers in Brooklyn and Queens
US Labor Department found employees who worked for tips only
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment against a Glendale–based chain of 17 neighborhood supermarkets and owner Andres Ferreira. The firm, doing business as NSA Supermarket, NSA Golden Mango and Met Food in the New York City area, agreed to pay $372,172 in back wages and liquidated damages to 18 vulnerable workers. These employees worked for less than the minimum wage at stores in Brooklyn and Queens, following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division.
“Supermarkets that underpay their employees also undercut those employers who elect to obey the law and pay lawfully required wages,” said Maria L. Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s New York City District Office. “This settlement applies to all 17 stores. We welcome this employer’s commitment to enterprisewide compliance and encourage other employers to follow suit in ensuring that they comply with federal wage laws at all locations.”
Investigators from the division’s New York City District Office found that defendants violated the minimum wage and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many of the firm’s grocery baggers, who assisted cashiers, worked for tips only. Two baggers were paid a minimal weekly salary. In addition, the defendants did not make and keep adequate and accurate records of the hours worked by and wages paid to the employees, many of whom are Spanish-speaking. The New York stores were located in Brooklyn, Queens, Haverstraw and Patterson. The Massachusetts stores were located in the Dorchester and Hyde Park neighborhoods of Boston.
Under a consent judgment entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Ferreira and the corporations that own the stores agreed to pay the workers $248,115 in back wages and $124,057 in liquidated damages. They also agreed to post FLSA posters that inform workers of their rights in English and Spanish at conspicuous locations in all stores and comply with the minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and anti-retaliatory provisions of the FLSA. The defendants will also pay $7,480 in civil money penalties. If the defendants fail to pay the back wages and damages, the court will appoint a receiver to carry out the terms of the judgment. The department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York litigated the case for the division.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time and one-half their regular rate for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages and hours and other conditions of employment. It prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
For more information about the FLSA, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its New York City District Office at 212-264-8185. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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