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Low-wage Workers get $2M in Back Wages, Civil Money Penalties from Grocery Chain

February 28, 2011

According to recent wage and hour lawsuit news that our Riverside California labor and employment attorneys have been watching, nearly 400 grocery story workers will receive $1.8 million in back wages, after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) found that Houston-based Hong Kong Market stores and owners had willfully and repeatedly violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA).

After the DOL reportedly investigated the grocery stores, the department found the defendants guilty of violating several FLSA labor laws--exploiting vulnerable low-wage workers and deliberating misleading investigators to hide the company's willful wage and hour violations.

The FLSA violations reportedly include overtime compensation and recordkeeping provisions, doctoring payroll records, and forcing low-wage and vulnerable employees to give back their hard-earned wages. The employees were reportedly forced to work as many as 70-hours per week for less than minimum wage and were denied their right to overtime compensation for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

In addition to the $1.8 million in back wages, Hong Kong Market grocery stores also paid $200,000 in civil money penalties for continuing to be in violation of FLSA laws after being put on notice by the DOL for similar violations from a previous investigation.

As our Carson labor attorneys have reported in a recent wage and hour lawyer blog, under the FLSA, employees covered by the act are required to be paid at least $7.25, the federal minimum wage, for all hours worked plus time and one-half for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek, including bonuses, incentive pay, or commissions.

Call Howard Law PC today at 1-800-872-5925, to discuss your Mission Viejo, California wage and hour case.

US Labor Department collects $2 million in back wages, civil money penalties from Houston-based Hong Kong Market grocery chain, U.S. Department of Labor Press Release, February 24, 2011

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Related Blog Posts:

Mexican Restaurant Chain Fined $400K for Minimum Wage and Overtime Violations, California Employment Lawyer Blog, February 12, 2011

New Study Reveals More Abuse of Low-wage Workers in Los Angeles, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 11, 2010