NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a $300,000 settlement Thursday with a Long Island beverage distributor that allegedly failed to pay overtime wages to employees.

Under the terms of the agreement, Superstar Beverage, an operator of eight retail beverage outlets in Suffolk and Nassau counties, paid Schneiderman's office $265,000 for distribution to approximately 15 underpaid former and current workers and $35,000 in penalties.

"When companies assign work weeks of over 40 hours, they are required to follow the state's overtime laws," Schneiderman said. "Many of Superstar Beverage's workers were required to work 50-plus hours a week with no overtime pay. Under this agreement, Superstar will pay workers for work they performed."

Schneiderman's office alleged that between July 2006 and July, Superstar Beverage employees routinely worked 50 hours or more per week but received the same hourly rate of pay for all hours worked. New York state's overtime laws require that employers pay employees 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for each hour worked past 40 in a given week and an additional hour of pay to employees working more than 10 hours in a single shift.

Superstar Beverage also allegedly failed to keep employee-specific records that documented actual hours worked and wages paid in a given week.

The settlement also requires that Superstar Beverage create records and put policies in place to ensure proper payment under the law. Superstar Beverage is barred from retaliating against employees for cooperating with this matter. As a result of the inquiry, Superstar Beverage reduced the work hours of its employees and hired additional employees.

Schneiderman's office will continue to monitor Superstar Beverage's employment practices.

Schneiderman's office learned of complaints about Superstar Beverage from Workplace Project, an advocacy group.

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