SAIPAN – A Saipan dry food, spice and canned food wholesaler paid four workers a fixed, “off-the-books” cash salary that dropped their regular hourly wage below the required federal $7.25 minimum wage rate, and denied them overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, a federal investigation has found.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $21,093 in back wages and liquidated damages for four workers at Pearl River Wholesale. The division also assessed the employer $2,324 in civil penalties for its reckless disregard for the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements.

“Employers who shortchange workers by denying them all of the wages they’ve legally earned will be held accountable by the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Wage and Hour District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu, Hawaii.  “Pearl River Wholesale attempted to exploit workers by making side agreements to skirt the law and cheat their competitors by paying substandard wages. In the end, they have paid not only the wages due, but thousands of dollars in penalties for their willful disregard of the law.”

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

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