A Korean worker who worked 84 hours a week at a New York City grocery store for 12 years won a major settlement today, receiving $73,000 to settle his claim for his unpaid overtime wages.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (AALDEF) Korean Workers Project, with help from YKASEC—Empowering the Korean American Community, represented Mr. “Kim,” a Korean immigrant who worked at a deli/grocery store. Steven Choi, Director of the AALDEF Korean Workers Project, said, “We are happy to announce that Mr. “Kim” and his family have finally found some justice for the hardships he endured for his 12 years of work. Hopefully, this settlement will encourage other Korean workers to come forward with their problems and put employers on notice that they must pay the overtime wages required by law.” Yu Soung Mun, Executive Director of YKASEC, stated, “The issue of workers’ rights in the Korean community has been neglected for too long. We believe this settlement will help highlight this issue, and we will continue our educational efforts as well.”
The AALDEF Korean Workers Project filed a suit on behalf of Mr. Kim in Manhattan federal court asking for his six years of unpaid overtime pay, and successfully negotiated a $73,000 settlement to settle his wage and hour claims. During Mr. “Kim’s” 12 years of employment at the deli/grocery store, he worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no meal or rest breaks. Mr. “Kim” was only paid a set amount of several hundred dollars per week, and never received any overtime pay despite working 84 hours per week. Mr. “Kim” 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. Mr. “Kim’s” situation is similar to many workers in the Korean community who work long hours, for a set weekly amount, and are not paid their legal overtime and spread of hours wages.
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.