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New York State
Department of Labor

Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor Peter M. Rivera, Commissioner

VIDEO: Labor Department orders New York City grocer to comply with Labor Laws

Fine Fare cheated worker out of minimum wage and overtime

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Albany, NY (October 22, 2010) -

During the week of October 10, the Department of Labor issued an order to comply with state labor laws to Juan Diaz and 191 Food Corp., trading as Fine Fare Supermarket, located in New York City. This Fine Fare grocery store is operated by Juan Diaz. The order to comply was issued after repeated attempts to get Fine Fare into compliance with state labor laws. Orders to Comply are final Administrative Orders of the Commissioner of Labor. Employers have sixty days to appeal them to the Industrial Board of Appeals.

"Baggers are not nameless, faceless workers; they are the heart and soul of grocery stores across this state and they deserve to be paid according to the law," said State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner. "In the case of Fine Fare, we're talking about a bagger who simply wasn't paid throughout many years of hard work. Without question, Mr. Diaz and Fine Fare took advantage of this worker and we will not tolerate this type of abuse."

The New York State Department of Labor has issued an Order to Comply - with additional penalties added to the money due to the worker - to Juan Diaz and 191 Food Corp., located at1617 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY 10040.

Covering a period of 3.5 years, this employee, who was hired to bag and deliver groceries, wasn't paid any wages. Working seven days a week, between eight to ten hours a day he was compensated only with tips from customers of Fine Fare. For these violations, the company now owes $157,487.82 in back pay, damages and fines. Once the Department of Labor recoups this money, the majority of it will be going right to the worker.

This is not the first time a Fine Fare supermarket has been under investigation by the Department of Labor. In 2008, investigations uncovered sizable wage underpayments to baggers at Fine Fare Supermarkets in Brooklyn and Queens. The offense then was the same as the offense now: failure to pay any wages to the employees.

Commissioner Gardner continued, "Enforcement of labor laws level the playing field for law abiding businesses. To employers still out there and still out of compliance: Get into compliance with the law right now or there will be consequences."

Employees must be paid $7.25 per hour.  For tipped employees in a supermarket, employers receive a tip allowance based on tips received, but even then employers must pay at least $5.50 per hour for the first 40 hours and at least $9.13 per hour for overtime hours.  The tip allowances vary by industry.

During the week of October 10, the Labor Department's Division of Labor Standards issued 27 Orders to Comply against employers, totaling $4,468,085.12 in underpayments, interest, damages, and penalties for violations of minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, recordkeeping, and other labor laws.

During the same week, the Division of Labor Standards learned that 9 judgments were entered in court against employers, totaling $188,079.09 in underpayments, interest, damages, and penalties. These judgments were also for violations of minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, recordkeeping, and other labor laws. They are final court judgments.

Every Wednesday, the Department of Labor publishes a list of labor law violations, money owed to workers and judgments against employers on its blog. For a complete listing of all Orders to Comply and Judgments for the week of October 10, please visit The Labor Buzz at laborbuzz.labor.ny.gov/?p=6380.

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