The owners of 11 New York City dollar stores will pay more than $485,000 to settle complaints they violated the Fair Labor Standards Act () by paying workers less than minimum wage, and failing to pay time-and-a-half for overtime hours.
The settlement ends a 2009 suit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division against the stores, which are owned and predominantly staffed by Pakistani-Americans.
The stores are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
The DOL now begins the potentially difficult process of locating everyone who worked at the stores from June 24, 2006, to May 31, 2010. Those workers may be entitled to a portion of the settlement funds the store owners will pay.
Note: The DOL investigation also revealed poorly kept records of employee hours. This is always a red flag. Poor records suggest the employer has something to hide.
Employers should check their employee timecards andrecords from time to time to ensure they accurately reflect hours worked and wages paid.