Liquor store reaches agreement with Mass. AG

Bryan Cohen Jun. 13, 2012, 6:00am


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement on Monday with a New Bedford liquor store and its owner resolving allegations of violating the state's minimum wage, anti-retaliation and overtime laws.

Jay Vinayak Corp., doing business as Trio Liquors, and Parimal Patel, its owner, must pay $33,000 in restitution and comply with the Massachusetts hour and wage laws under the terms of the agreement.

"Workers in the commonwealth cannot be paid less than the required minimum wage, and they are entitled to receive all overtime due," 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."

A June 2011 complaint filed by Coakley's office alleged that Trio Liquors failed to pay a former employee overtime and the minimum wage between November 2008 and January 2010. The worker was allegedly paid $6.60 in cash per hour for as many as 87 hours per week. The state's Minimum Wage Law requires employers to pay employees at least $8 per hour. The Overtime Law requires that employers pay most employees time-and-one-half for hours worked over 40 in a work week.

In addition, the employee alleged retaliation in the form of a death threat after the company learned of the complaint for unpaid overtime and minimum wage.

The complaint was first referred to Coakley's office by Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores, a New Bedford group for workers' rights. Justice at Work, a non-profit legal services organization, also provided assistance to the worker.

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