On July 1, 2009, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced a $1.125 million settlement with the owners and former owners of two Brooklyn-based supermarkets for underpayment of their workers as well as other violations of New York State labor laws.
The AG’s office filed a lawsuit against the Associated and Pioneer supermarkets after their investigation found that employees at the stores were not paid proper wages. At both supermarkets, baggers had been paid no wages at all and had to rely solely on tips for income. In addition, delivery workers at the supermarkets often worked 70-hour weeks but were not paid minimum wage nor were they paid time and a half for overtime. Many other supermarket employees had also worked in excess of 40 hours per week, but were not paid overtime wages.
Under the terms of the settlement, the supermarket owners will pay restitution to over 50 of their employees for unpaid wages totaling $1,125,000, in addition to the penalties that will be paid to the State of New York. Each worker covered by the agreement will get about $20,000.
In a separate criminal action, the two owners of the Associated Supermarket pleaded guilty to failure to pay wages and failure to maintain payroll records, both misdemeanors. Each received a one-year suspended sentence and must comply with a deal to surrender payroll and time records to the Attorney General’s Office on the first of each month for five years to ensure compliance.