Workers at two Indian eateries in US get $95,000 in back pay

By Arun Kumar,IANS,

Washington : Employees of two Indian eateries in California recovered nearly $95,000 in back wages following an investigation by US labour regulators revealing they were not being paid the minimum wage, a media report said.

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The 22 employees of Jay Bharat Foods Inc., doing business as Jay Bharat; and Standard Foods LLC, doing business as Standard Sweets and Snacks in Artesia, were determined to have been forced to work an average of 55 hours a week, local Cerritos-Artesia reported.

They were paid “straight time” wages, rather than the required time and one-half their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week in violation of the Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA), according to the Department of Labour’s Wage and Hour Division.

Both eateries are located in Pioneer Boulevard’s Little India and are owned by India-born Chandrakant Patel.

“It is against the law to not pay workers at least the minimum wage,” Priscilla Garcia, director of the division’s West Covina office, was quoted as saying.

Investigators also determined that the owner was in violation of the FLSA record-keeping provisions by not keeping accurate records of employee work hours and wages, Garcia said.

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

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

In California, minimum wage is $8/hour. Employers are also required to keep accurate records of all hours worked by covered employees.