A Glendale-based chain of 17 neighborhood supermarkets, all owned by Andres Ferreira, has been cheating employees out of wages, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. The company agreed to pay $372,172 in back pay and “liquidated damages” to 18 workers, many of whom didn’t even receive a wage and survived on tips.
The supermarkets are NSA Supermarket, NSA Golden Mango and Met Food. They span the New York City area, and the employees who are being compensated worked in the Brooklyn and Queens branches. The investigation was performed by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation revealed that the 18 workers were either being paid less than minimum wage or nothing at all, leaving them only tips they received when bagging groceries. They also found that the supermarkets did not keep accurate records of the workers’ hours.
“Supermarkets that underpay their employees also undercut those employers who elect to obey the law and pay lawfully required wages,” said Maria L. Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division in New York City. “This settlement applies to all 17 stores. We welcome this employer’s commitment to enterprise wide compliance and encourage other employers to follow suit in ensuring that they comply with federal wage laws at all locations.”
The Glendale firm also agreed to put posters up in their stores that will inform workers, in Spanish and English, of their rights. They will also pay $7,480 in civil penalties.
Ferreira did not immediately return call for comment.
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