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Dollar store chain pays back wages

More than $485,000 in minimum wages, overtime pay, liquidated damages and interest were awarded for more than 120 employees of several New York City-area dollar stores.
The dollar stores and their owners agreed to two judgments resolving the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) lawsuit over alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for failing to pay minimum wages and overtime compensation to employees who worked in excess of 40 hours a week.
“We took this legal action because, in the past, these defendants have professed to operate single establishments even though they are actually operating a large, multi-establishment retail enterprise with many locations,” said Maria Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s district office in New York City. “The defendants have been failing to properly pay employees even after investigations of individual establishments put them on notice of the law’s requirements.”
The Labor Department filed suit last year in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York naming 11 defendants, including Dollar Budget Inc. doing business as 99 Cent Dreams of 218-13 Jamaica Avenue in Queens Village; and Dollar Street Inc. doing business as 99 Cent Dream of 147-03 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica.
The owner Muhammad Irfan of Dollar Budget, Inc. and Dollar Street, Inc. was ordered to pay employees $96,000 and $123.15 in interest for withholding the payment of minimum wage and overtime compensation. If any of the defendants, including Irfan, fail to make any of the payments on time, the court can appoint a receiver with the power to seize and liquidate their assets to satisfy the order.
Several messages left at the Dollar Street, Inc.’s office went unanswered. And at Dollar Budget Inc., an unidentified person answered and, after hearing the request for comment, hung up.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as one and one-half times their regular hourly rates of pay for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
“It’s bad,” said Natasha Mareck, 37, a frequent customer of 99 Cent Dreams in Jamaica. “I feel mad. You pay people to work for you. They should at least be paid the minimum wage. I think everyone should get paid fairly.”
The Labor Department is asking anyone who knows current and former employees who worked at any of these stores between June 24, 2006, and May 31, 2010, to call the Wage and Hour Division’s Brooklyn office at 718-254-9410.

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