$64,503 in Back Wages for Wage and Hour Violations by Supermarket

Friday, February 10, 2012

Celina's International Supermarket LLC and Kenner Supermarket Inc. in Kenner, owned by Obed J. Irula and Celina Irula, have paid 18 current and former cashiers, stockers, and wait and kitchen staff $64,503 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions.

"The Labor Department is committed to protecting the rights of low-wage and other vulnerable workers, including those in the food services industry," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. "Vulnerable workers are those who are reluctant to come forward and complain when they are subject to violations for fear of retaliation, especially in tough economic times. This employer profited by paying employees less than they were legally due under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA provides protection not only to workers, but also to employers who depend on the department to ensure that no company receives an unfair advantage by dodging the law. Other employers should take notice and ensure that their policies comply with federal law."

An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's Houston District Office found that employees were not paid for hours worked cleaning the establishments after closing, which resulted in their pay falling below the minimum wage. Investigators also found that employees who worked more than 40 hours in a week did not receive required overtime compensation. Additionally, employees' work hours were not recorded.

The investigation covered the Celina's International Supermarket on Williams Boulevard and another on David Drive. The Kenner Supermarket also is located on Williams Boulevard. The owners have agreed to properly maintain payroll records and to comply with the FLSA in the future. Back wages owed have been paid in full.

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