Korean Immigrant Worker Wins $8,000 Settlement from High-End Palisades Park Sauna
Newark, NJ—A Korean immigrant worker, Mr. Kyong Sok Kim, today received $8,000 in a settlement with Super King Sauna NJ, LLC (d/b/a King Sauna) for a year’s overtime and liquidated damages. Mr. Kim, 60, worked as a parking attendant at the Korean health and beauty spa in Palisades Park, which drew clientele from the tri-state area. The New Jersey Asian American Legal Project (NJ-AALP) sent a demand letter to King Sauna in January 2007 to reclaim Mr. Kims back wages and unpaid overtime.
This is a victory for all Korean Americans working in New Jersey, said AALDEF Equal Justice Works Fellow and NJ-AALP Director Alexander Saingchin. The law requires that workers be paid the proper overtime pay. This settlement sends a message that we will help workers enforce their basic rights against employers who choose to take advantage of them.
As a valet for King Sauna, Mr. Kim worked five days a week for 75 hours a week and was paid in accordance with an agreed-upon base wage of $350 a week. However, King Saunas agreement did not account for overtime, which is a violation of federal and state labor laws. Mr. Kim was owed approximately $13,400 in overtime and liquidated damages. King Sauna is a luxury bathhouse that charges a premium for its stress-relief services, and was recently reviewed in the New York Times.
Mr. Kim found out about AALDEF and NJ-AALP through a Korean newspaper and sought legal assistance late last year. Mr. Kim said, “I was extremely unhappy with how King Sauna treated me so I decided to look into what I could do about it. I knew that I could trust the lawyers at AALDEF with my case because they know the American legal system very well and were very dependable and passionate about the cause. I thought about other workers who are also underpaid and thought it was worth taking a chance.”
The New JerseyAsian American Legal Project (NJ-AALP) is an initiative of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) dedicated to addressing the unmet legal needs of Asian Americans in New Jersey. Although there are over half a million Asian Americans living in New Jersey, few resources are available to assist them in overcoming the cultural and linguistic obstacles they face when accessing legal services. NJ-AALP seeks to address this gap in legal services by providing community education and serving as a bridge to the legal system. Individuals seeking assistance may contact the AALDEF NJ-AALP helpline at (888) 406-1555.
Photos of NJ-AALP clinics available upon request