Archive for April, 2011

The news continues to show that the workers that seem to most frequently get their wages stolen from them are restaurant workers. Frequently not getting paid minimum wage or overtime wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The owner of Ayara Thai Cuisine restaurant in must pay $162,201 in back wages to 35 employees for violating federal minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping laws, officials said Monday.

Ayara Thai owner Ayut Asapahu paid his workers in cash at a flat rate for their hours worked. The rate was below minimum wage and without regard to overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a statement.

Investigators determined that the restaurant owner failed to keep records of employees’ hours and pay, but learned through an investigation that Asapahu paid his kitchen employees $80 to $110 for an 11- to 12-hour workday.

Other employees worked six- to 12-hour workdays, most receiving a daily rate of $45 to $50, authorities said.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked. They also must be paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 hours a week or eight hours a day.

Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

“Many restaurant workers in the Los Angeles area are subject to unacceptable wage practices and irregularities, and we are determined to make sure that they and other vulnerable employees are paid proper wages,” Kimchi Bui, director of the Los Angeles district office of the Labor Department’s

If you believe you are not getting paid properly by your employer, feel free to contact Scott M. Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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A recent jury verdict against Xerox for almost $800,000 shows the repercussions an employer, such as Xerox, may suffer for retaliating against an employee who complains of discrimination in the workplace. Remember that most state and federal laws prohibit not only the discrimination itself, but also retaliation against any complaints of discrimination.

Hope Bailey-Rhodeman, an African-American female, claimed she had suffered retaliation when she had made an internal complaint of race and gender discrimination. Since she filed the claim, she was demoted to a sales position, but at the time of her complaint, she was a sales manager for Xerox and had a successful career spanning nearly 20 years. She had been promoted to sales manager, leading a team of 10 sales representatives who specialized in selling equipment and services to customer in state and local government.

Bailey-Rhodeman was consistently the highest ranked sales manager in her section, and was frequently one of the most highly ranked sales managers for the country. But all this changed in the summer of 2006, when Bailey-Rhodeman made an internal complaint to Xerox Human Resources, complaining that other managers were bullying her because she was an African-American female.

Her immediate supervisor learned of the complaint, and told Bailey-Rhodeman that he was angry at her for making him look bad, telling her “now you did it.” He then launched a retaliatory investigation of Bailey-Rhodeman. Without being interviewed, or even being told the specifics of the accusations against her, Bailey-Rhodeman was suspended, being accused of committing an unspecified “policy violation.” Three weeks later she was told she was being fired, but Xerox offered to pay her 12 weeks severance, if she would agree to quit. She refused, and threatened to sue the company.

In response, Bailey-Rhodeman was told that she was being removed from her sales manager job, but could accept instead a reassignment to a sales position where she would be stripped of all supervisory responsibilities. Otherwise, she would be fired. The reassignment was a demotion, which would result in a significant loss in pay. Nonetheless, without any job prospects, Bailey-Rhodeman took the reassignment, but continued to challenge the demotion.

After being demoted to the sales position, Bailey-Rhodeman lost approximately $100,000 per year in sales commissions. Her territory was split between two white males. At trial, Bailey-Rhodeman challenged her demotion as being in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination. The jury found in Bailey-Rhodeman’s favor on her retaliation claim, and awarded Bailey-Rhodeman $488,088 in lost past income, and $316,126 in lost future income.

Should you believe you have been the subject of discrimination in the workplace or retaliation, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss available legal options to you.

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The Indian-American owner of two Indian restaurants in the Los Angeles area has been found violating the minimum wage act, following which the US Department of Labor has recovered USD 92,870 in back wages for 22 employees.

The two establishments owned and operated by Chandrakant Patel are Jay Bharat Foods Inc, doing business as Jay Bharat, and Standard Foods LLC, doing business as Standard Sweets and Snacks.

“It is against the law to not pay workers at least the minimum wage,” said Priscilla Garcia, the director of the Wage and Hour Division’s West Covina District Office.

The press release was issued in Hindi and English. Investigators found that employees of both restaurants were required to work an average of 55 hours a week and paid “straight time” wages, rather than time and one-half their regular rate of pay, for hours worked in excess of 40 per week, as required by the FLSA.

Additionally, accurate records of employees’ work hours and wages were not kept, in violation of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) record-keeping provisions.

After conducting employee interviews and reviewing payroll records, investigators determined that Jay Bharat owed a total of USD 41,428 in minimum wage and overtime back wages to 12 employees and Standard Sweets and Snacks Restaurant owed USD 53,442 in minimum wage and overtime back wages to 10 employees.

Patel agreed to pay all back wages due to the affected employees and committed to maintaining future compliance with federal minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements, the Department of Labor said.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of USD 7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 hours per week.

If you believe you are not being paid the overtime or regular pay you are owed, call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation about your rights under the FLSA.

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