Department of Labor recovers $71k in back wages from Florida-based Indian firm

The US Department of Labor announced it has recovered more than $71,047 in back wages and liquidated damages from a Florida-based Indian company, which denied overtime pay to 25 of its workers.

Patel Shippers LLC, which provides fruits and vegetables from India and Asia to grocery stores in 10 US states, paid straight-time rates for all hours worked, including for hours over 40 in a workweek, Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found.

The employer also failed to pay three workers at least the federal minimum wage by not keeping an accurate record of hours worked, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The company was first registered to do business in Florida in 1985 and is run by president Ashish Patel and vice president Ramanbhai Patel, the Miami Herald reported, citing state records.

The company website describes Patel Shippers as an “Indian and oriental vegetable and fruit supplier”.

“Employers have a legal obligation to pay workers for all the hours that they work. When they fail to do so they may owe back wages and liquidated damages,” said Anthony Delgado, Wage and Hour Division Acting District Director, Miami.

“We remain committed to ensuring essential protections for workers, and to providing clear and confidential compliance assistance to any worker or employer with questions,’ Delgado said in a statement released by the Department of Labor.

The company delivers fruit and vegetables to stores and grocers in Miami, Sunrise, West Palm Beach, Arizona, California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

The investigators from the Wage and Hour Division learned of the Patel Shipper’s malpractices via the Employment Education and Outreach alliance, which addresses the concerns of immigrants who aren’t familiar with workplace rights in the US.

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