Press Release

AALDEF Korean Workers Project Announces $35,000 Settlement for Store Worker


A Korean worker who worked 72 hours a week at a New York City grocery store has won a major settlement, receiving $35,000 to settle his claim for his unpaid overtime wages.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Korean Workers Project, with help from YKASEC—Empowering the Korean American Community, represented Mr. Lee , a Korean immigrant who worked at a grocery store for more than three years.

Steven Choi, Director of the AALDEF Korean Workers Project, said, Even after Mr. Lee broke his jaw and could only consume food through a straw, he still worked a full schedule of long, difficult hours. We are glad that Mr. Lee has finally been compensated for his hard work. Yu Soung Mun, Executive Director of YKASEC, commented, Too many Korean workers work incredibly long hours doing stressful jobs, but are never paid proper overtime. This kind of work has serious consequences for the entire community. We hope to work with both employers and workers to make sure that workers are paid their rightful wages.

The AALDEF Korean Workers Project successfully negotiated a $35,000 settlement to settle Mr. Lees wage and hour claims. During his three years of employment at the store, he worked 12 hours a day or more, 6 days a week, often with no meal or rest breaks. Mr. Lee was hit by a thrown object from a thief and broke his jaw, yet he continued to work a full schedule and took no time off. Mr. Lee was only paid a flat $400 per week, and he never received any separate overtime pay. Mr. Lee also did not receive payment for his spread of hours, or the payment of an extra hour at minimum wage that workers receive for working more than 10 hours per day.

The AALDEF Korean Workers Project provides direct legal services free of charge to low-wage Korean immigrant workers. The Project also features community advocacy and educational activities in conjunction with YKASEC—Empowering the Korean American Community, a Queens-based community service organization.