N.Y. AG announces more than $2 million going to underpaid workers

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the distribution Thursday of $2.25 million worth of restitution funds and payment of monitoring costs in two separate labor matters.

In the first case, 306 current and former employees of Flat Rate Movers will receive $1.13 million in restitution. In the second, approximately 100 employees of Mystique Boutique Inc. clothing stores will see restitution as part of a $950,000 settlement.

"My office will vigorously enforce our state's labor laws and ensure that workers receive the compensation they are legally owed," Schneiderman said. "While my office is pleased to distribute this money to these workers, especially during the holiday season, we know that there are many employers that violate our state's labor laws and we will continue to seek justice for other workers who are illegally underpaid."

In 2010, Schneiderman's office reached a $1.2 million settlement with Flat Rate to resolve allegations that the company failed to pay overtime wages to its workers. The company also allegedly failed to keep records of how long its employees worked and unlawfully deducted pay from its movers' wages for various items. The workers will receive varying amounts of up to more than $15,000 each. The settlement also required a payment of approximately $70,000 for independent labor law monitoring.

In 2011, Schneiderman's office reached a settlement with Mystique Boutique Inc., David Cohen, the company's owner, and Asaf Cohen, a company manager. The company's six locations allegedly failed to pay the legal minimum wage to some employees, failed to pay overtime wages, and retaliated against certain workers who complained or were perceived to complain about the violations. Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants must pay $925,000 in restitution and $25,000 for independent labor law monitoring.

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