Nine workers have filed suit for egregious violations of Federal and New York Labor laws at the Food Bazaar Supermarket in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The suit, filed yesterday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, asks the court to award them more than $1.5 million in damages resulting from unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation.
The nine workers, employed as grocery baggers, received no wages despite work schedules that exceeded fifty to sixty hours per week. Although they received tips from customers, the workers’ earnings from tips fell well below the required minimum wage. Under both New York and Federal law, the supermarket was required to pay the full minimum wage plus additional overtime pay for work weeks that exceeded forty hours.
Dinora Aybar, one of the nine plaintiffs and who worked at the supermarket for more than seven years, said, “They took advantage of our fears and made us compete with one another for crumbs. We worked there because this supermarket is in our community; we helped their business and they rewarded us for our hard work by firing us after not paying us for so many years.”
“The complaint alleges that, in addition to bagging groceries, Plaintiffs were required to fill in for cashiers, clean the check-out aisles, and restock unwanted grocery items—all at the direction of the Defendants,” explained Linda Neilan, an attorney with Outten & Golden LLP, who together with the Urban Justice Center represents the Plaintiffs.
According to David Colodny, an attorney with the Urban Justice Center, “The law is very clear that when an employer suffers or permits someone to work, the employer has to pay that person for the work.” Added Cara Greene, another Outten & Golden LLP attorney, “The federal and state labor laws were enacted to address situations exactly like this.”
The Bushwick Food Bazaar Supermarket is located at 454 Wyckoff Avenue, and is owned and operated by Bogopa, Inc. and Bogopa Service Corp. The Chief Executive Officer of both companies is Hwee Ill An. Bogopa Service Corp. is the parent company of eleven supermarkets in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and New Jersey, doing business under the trade names Food Bazaar and Food Dimensions.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Outten & Golden LLP and the Urban Justice Center.
Please email Cara E. Greene or call (212) 245-1000 for more information.
(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)