BY JAMES FARRELL
Queens food market Apna Bazar Cash & Carry pled guilty after failing to pay minimum wage and overtime to over 150 employees, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced this week.
Apna Bazar is run by the grocers S&L Vegetables Corp. and J&B Vegetables Inc. There is one Apna Bazar location in Hicksville in Nassau County and another on HIllside Avenue in Floral Park in Queens.
The New York State Department of Labor and the state Attorney General’s office concluded that between 2012 and 2015, Apna Bazar forced employees to work over 60 hours a week, but paid them a fixed daily amount. Schneiderman’s office said that payments resulted in paychecks below the minimum wage, even for a typical 40-hour week. Apna Bazar also did not pay proper overtime to their workers.
Additionally, Schneiderman said, both Apna Bazar locations failed to accurately report their number of employees and falsified forms that led to significant underpayment of unemployment insurance contributions.
“The defendants in this case acted out of greed, cheating over 150 hardworking employees out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages they earned,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “My office will continue to enforce wage and labor laws to make sure that New Yorkers get the pay they rightfully earn and ensure companies are meeting their obligations to the unemployment insurance safety net.”
Apna Bazar pleaded guilty in Queens County Supreme Court and, as part of the plea deal, the market was ordered to pay restitution for the back wages and unemployment insurance contributions. Schneiderman confirmed that those obligations have been paid in full. Apna Bazar will also be put under supervision by an independent monitor for one year to ensure that employees are fairly compensated.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.