Maspeth company forced to pay back wages

By Nathan Duke

Southeast Produce Limited USA, of 5845 47th St. in Maspeth, and its owner – Raymond Zhang – will be ordered to pay workers overtime compensation after a Department of Labor investigation found that company employees were not being paid for all the hours they worked and that employers were not maintaining proper records of employee hours of work and rates of pay, Jacobson said. Jacobson said investigators found that some employees were found to be earning less than the minimum wage. The company is a fresh produce and grocery distributor.The court order was signed by Judge I. Leo Glasser on Jan. 26 in federal court in Brooklyn. Glasser prohibited the defendants from future violations of minimum wage, overtime pay and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established a national minimum wage and guarantees time and a half for overtime at certain jobs.”This court action demonstrates that the Labor Department is quite serious about enforcing the FLSA and ensuring that employees are always properly paid for all the hours they work, in particular those workers employed in low-wage industries,” Jacobson said.Southeast Produce Limited USA could not be reached for comment.According to a Department of Labor news release, Glasser also prohibited Southeast Produce Limited USA from taking any retaliatory action against employees who are being compensated for overtime. The company will pay exactly $162,901.54 in back wages and interest over an installment period of 12 months, according to the department.A spokesman for the department said the investigation into the company took place between April 2003 and late 2005. Although he said the department does not release information about how the investigation was instigated, he said, hypothetically, it could have stemmed from a routine compliance check, an employee complaint or a third party complaint.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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