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Queens Chronicle

Glendale-based market chain skimped workers

Eighteen employees get back pay, damages

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:30 am

A Glendale-based chain of 17 New York-area supermarkets agreed on Tuesday to pay back wages and damages to 18 workers, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

The firms, doing business as NSA Supermarket, NSA Golden Mango and Met Food, agreed to pay $372,172 in back wages and liquidated damages to the employees, who worked for less than the minimum wage at stores in Brooklyn and Queens, following an investigation by the federal agency’s Wage and Hour Division.

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 detailed and accurate records of the hours worked by and wages paid to the employees, many of whom were Spanish-speaking immigrants. The New York stores were located in Brooklyn, Queens and in the Hudson Valley.

Under the FLSA, nonexempt employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and time and one-half their regular rate for any hour worked beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain detailed and 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.

Under a consent judgment entered in federal district court, the chain’s owner, Andres 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 must also post FLSA posters that inform workers of their rights in English and Spanish at conspicuous locations in all stores and comply with all provisions of the FLSA. The defendants will also pay $7,480 in civil penalties. If the defendants don’t comply, the court will appoint a receiver to carry out the terms.

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