After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and litigation by the Department’s Office of the Solicitor, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has entered a consent judgment requiring a group of commonly owned convenience stores in New York’s Hudson Valley and its owners to pay a total of $371,439 in back wages and liquidated damages to 45 current and former employees. The defendants must also pay $28,861 in civil money penalties.
WHD found that Broadway Mart Corp., LJR Singh Corp., B&J Singh Corp., Jessica 2558 Inc., Brenda 52 Food Mart Inc., and owners Bachan and Brenda Singh willfully violated the minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Investigators found cashiers at the defendants’ stores routinely worked between 60 and 84 hours per week while the employer paid them straight-time rates for all of their hours, with no overtime when they worked more than 40 hours per workweek. The defendants violated the FLSA’s minimum wage requirements by failing to pay one employee wages for his last week of work. They also violated recordkeeping requirements by underreporting the number of hours worked by employees and falsely stating that they paid employees overtime.
In addition to paying the back wages and liquidated damages, the defendants have also agreed to install electronic time-keeping devices in each of defendants’ stores. In previous investigations, WHD found four of the five corporate defendants similarly violated FLSA overtime and recordkeeping violations, for which they paid about $196,000 in back wages.
“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division will investigate and, when it finds violations, hold employers accountable to ensure they pay workers the wages they have rightfully earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jay Rosenblum in Albany, New York. “We strongly encourage employers to contact us for information on how to comply and avoid costly violations.”
“Employers that underpay their employees put employers that obey the law at an economic disadvantage. The U.S. Department of Labor will pursue appropriate legal actions to ensure proper payment to employees and a fair and level playing field for employers,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York City.
The defendants’ stores are located in Newburgh, Fishkill, Middletown, New Windsor, Pine Bush and Wappingers Falls.
WHD’s Albany District Office conducted the investigation. Attorney Allison L. Bowles of the regional Office of the Solicitor litigated the case.