Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department sues New Orleans markets for willfully violating labor laws
NEW ORLEANS -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Ideal Discount Market following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division which found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions. The lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation for 55 current and former employees, including cashiers, cooks, butchers and floor stockers. It also requests that the court permanently enjoin the defendants from committing future FLSA violations.
“It’s bad enough these employees were denied proper overtime compensation, but it’s even worse that the employer falsified records in order to cover up its problems,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “As demonstrated by this lawsuit, we are vigorously pursuing corrective action in situations where the rights of vulnerable workers are violated. We will use all tools available to hold employers accountable for violations and bring them into compliance with the law.”
Investigators from the division’s New Orleans District Office found that employees worked up to 13 hours per day six days a week, but were paid “straight time” for all hours, rather than time and one-half the regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA. The defendants also failed to keep and maintain records of all hours worked for all of its employees. The employers provided investigators with incomplete and altered time cards, as well as incomplete payroll records and employee rosters that omitted former employees who worked during the investigation period.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. It seeks payment of back wages, liquidated damages and injunctive relief. Back wages continue to accrue if the employer does not comply with the FLSA.
Ideal Discount Market is a grocery, deli and gas station enterprise with six locations in the New Orleans area. The lawsuit names Ideal Discount Market and each of the six locations: 250 S. Broad, Inc. doing business as Ideal Discount Market; Kaki and Son LLC, doing business as Ideal Market #6; Kaki Inc., doing business as Ideal Discount Market #1; Morales Brothers LLC, doing business as Ideal Market; Rampart Fuel LLC, doing business as Ideal Market; and P.R. Enterprises Inc., doing business as Ideal Discount Market #4. In addition, the suit names Ideal Discount Market employers Muwafak “Mike” Kaki, Hamdallah “Mario” Kaki, Gassan “Jimmy” Kaki, Monadel “Cory” Elbarqa and Nofal “George” Haifa.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or the division’s district office in New Orleans at 504-589-6171. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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