For Immediate Release - June 11, 2012

New Bedford Liquor Store Settles Minimum Wage, Overtime, and Anti-Retaliation Violations

Employer Allegedly Threatened Worker’s Life for Filing Complaint

BOSTON – A New Bedford liquor store and its owner have agreed to settle allegations they violated the State’s minimum wage, overtime, and anti-retaliation laws, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. 

The consent judgment, entered by Justice Annette Forde of the Boston Municipal Court, requires Jay Vinayak Corp., d/b/a Trio Liquors and its owner, Parimal Patel (Trio Liquors), to pay $33,000 in restitution, and to comply with the State’s wage and hour laws.

“Workers in the Commonwealth cannot be paid less than the required minimum wage, and they are entitled to receive all overtime due,” AG Coakley said.  “Employers cannot threaten workers who assert their right to proper payment and our office will continue to enforce the wage and hour laws to ensure that law-abiding employers can compete on a level playing field.”

According to the complaint filed in June 2011, an investigation revealed that Trio Liquors failed to pay a former employee minimum wage and overtime.  The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division opened an investigation into Trio Liquors’ employment practices after receiving the former worker’s complaint alleging that Trio Liquors failed to pay minimum wage and overtime for work he performed from November 2008 through January 2010.  The investigation revealed that the employee routinely worked as many as 87 hours a week and received just $6.60 per hour in cash.  Under the State’s Minimum Wage Law, employers must pay employees at least $8.00 an hour. 

The investigation also found that the employee did not receive overtime pay for any hours over 40 that he worked in a week.  The State's Overtime Law requires employers to pay most employees time and one half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a work week.  The investigation further revealed that the employer retaliated against the worker by making a death threat after learning that the worker filed a complaint for unpaid minimum wage and overtime.

The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages, meal breaks, retaliation, overtime, and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth.  Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are strongly encouraged to call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465.  The Attorney General’s Guide to Workplace Rights and Responsibilities Brochure is available in eight languages. 

The complaint in this matter was initially referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores (CCT), a New Bedford workers’ rights group.  Additional assistance was provided to the worker by Justice at Work, a non-profit legal services organization. 

The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Lillian Hirales and inspectors Celina Pendexter, Mario Paiva, and Elizabete Valadao of Attorney General Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.

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