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January 14, 2005
Grocery Chain Settles Overtime Investigation

Hong Kong Market, a retail grocery chain in Houston, has agreed to pay $161,509 to 119 current and former employees after a Department of Labor investigation into the company's compliance with overtime law.

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Investigators alleged that Hong Kong Market failed to properly pay the minimum wage and overtime compensation required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Additionally, the department accused the company of failing to maintain accurate time records as mandated by the FLSA.

The company was paying non-exempt employees a semi-monthly or monthly salary for all hours worked, according to the department. This resulted in some of the employees earning below the hourly minimum wage. The company also failed to compensate those employees who worked more than 40 hours in a work week the proper overtime pay, investigators say. Under the FLSA, covered employees must receive time-and-one-half their hourly rate for any overtime hours over 40 in a work week.

The company has corrected its payment practices and has agreed to pay back wages due and to comply with the FLSA in the future, according to the department.

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