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The owner of four Richmond Hill food stores agreed Monday to pay 42 employees a total of $840,000 in back wages and overtime pay, ending a 2008 lawsuit filed by the U.S. Labor Department that charged her with unfairly compensating the workers.
An investigation by Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found employees regularly worked more than 40 hours a week without receiving overtime pay and were paid below minimum wage, the agency said.
The four businesses, all along Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill, were Liberty Fruits & Produce Corp., Liberty Fish, Banana Country and Fish World.
The establishments are owned by June Hyung Kil and managed by Tae Hyung Kil, defendants in the Labor lawsuit, the agency said.
It is unclear if the two are relatives.
“This legal action demonstrates the department’s commitment to prosecute employers who violate the law by failing to properly pay their employees for all the hours they work,” said George Ference, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division’s northeast region.
The agreement prohibits the two owners from violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act — which sets minimum wage and overtime requirements — again and orders them to pay $840,000 in back wages.
Minimum wage is $7.25 an hour while overtime is 1 1/2 times regular pay for every hour worked over 40 hours in a week, according to federal law.
To ensure June Hyung Kil pays the money, a court granted a lien on her house to the Labor Department. If she is found to have made any financial misrepresentations to the agency, a court could appoint a receiver with the power to seize and liquidate her assets, the agency said.
The owners were also ordered to inform their employees about labor laws in English and Spanish and install and maintain mechanical or electronic timekeeping systems that accurately record the hours worked by employees, Labor said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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