Six borough supermarkets have agreed to pay a collective $288,204 in minimum wage and overtime owed to 38 employees after the companies were found to have violated labor laws, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday.
An investigation by the agency concluded that 11 employees of two Bravo Supermarkets and one C-Town Supermarket in Jackson Heights who worked as baggers were not paid any wages at all and that their only compensation was tips from customers, the Labor Department said.
The agency said another employee of a Bravo Supermarket in Astoria was working in the same conditions.
That same supermarket was also found to have employed a 17-year-old who used a deli meat slicer on a daily basis, which is a violation of the child labor hazardous order, the department said.
“Several of these employers paid their employees straight salaries even though they were covered by all provisions of the [Fair Labor Standards Act],” said Maria Rosado, assistant district director for Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Brooklyn. “Paying an employee a salary does not make that employee exempt from coverage under the FLSA. It’s the nature of the job that determines coverage or exemption. Not paying an employee at all and expecting him or her to be compensated by tips alone is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the U.S. Department of Labor.”
The marketing company that handles questions for both Bravo and C-Town could not be reached for comment.
At the other three stores, employees were working below the minimum wage, while other workers toiled for more than 40 hours a week and were not paid overtime, the agency said.
The Bravo Supermarket at 90-30 Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights is required to pay four employees a total of $62,936, the agency said. The store also agreed to pay a $1,232 civil penalty.
Another Bravo Supermarket at 85-15 Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights agreed to compensate five employees $91,840 in back wages and pay a $1,540 civil penalty.
The C-Town Supermarket at 85-08 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights is due to pay two workers $45,224 in back wages along with a $616 civil penalty.
The Astoria Bravo Supermarket at 34-12 34th Ave. faces a $1,622 penalty for the child labor violation and also owed eight workers $13,929 in back wages.
A St. Albans C-Town at 110-14 Farmers Blvd. owed six workers $37,398 in back wages, while another C-Town at 108-30 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica owes 13 workers $36,877, the agency said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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