September 06, 2023
A grocery wholesaler in Philadelphia must pay more than $419,000 to 21 employees for deliberately denying overtime compensation, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Wednesday.
An investigation by Philadelphia's District Office of the Labor Division found that Byun Brothers Sales, which sells food and other grocery items to small convenience stores, failed to pay overtime wages to employees who worked over 40 hours a week between March 30, 2020 and March 19, 2023. This is a violation of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
“B&B Sales and its owner intentionally withheld overtime wages earned by 21 hard-working employees, in violation of federal law that protects their rights to be paid fully for their labor,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain. “Wage theft harms employees and puts employers who comply with the law at a competitive disadvantage. The employers in this case have learned that the consequences for violating federal labor laws are serious and costly.”
B&B Sales president Richard Byun and the company must pay the workers $209,807 in back wages and an equal amount in damages, as well as $8,379 in civil penalties to the federal government, according to a consent judgment obtained by the U.S. Department of Labor and approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The company, located at 2015 W. Allegheny Ave., did not keep a record that accurately showed the total hour number of hours worked and how much workers were paid, the judgment says. It also paid day rates to people employed as baggers and loaders and salaries to others employed as general laborers.
"The outcome of this investigation and the litigation that followed will provide meaningful financial relief to vulnerable workers who depend on their wages to make ends meet," said Deputy Regional Solicitor of Labor Samantha Thomas. "The U.S. Department of Labor will use every tool available to make sure workers' rights are protected and to enforce the law."
Unless employees work for businesses that are exempt from the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act or Fair Labor Standards Act, anyone who works more than 40 hours per week must be paid an overtime rate of at least 1 1/2 times their regular pay rate, the Department of Labor and Industry states.