22 Workers on Pioneer Blvd. Awarded $95,000

Filed under Civil Rights Unit, Media and Photos

Employees of two Indian restaurants, Jay Bharat and Standard Sweets and Snacks, located in Artesia are set to recover almost $95,000 in back wages denied by their employer, Chandrakant Patel.  Federal Department of Labor investigators determined that 22 employees at Jay Bharat Foods, Inc, and Standard Sweets LLC were denied minimum wage and overtime pay…

…in accordance with federal and state laws.

Artesia’s “Little India” on Pioneer Boulevard is home to over 100 South Asian businesses, including many popular grocery stores and restaurants like Jay Bharat and Standard Sweets and Snacks.  While thousands of customers come to Pioneer Boulevard to enjoy South Asian products, they are largely unaware of the over 300 South Asian, Latino and other immigrant workers who provide an invisible service to the community by stocking stores, cooking ethnic foods and creating a cultural ambiance.  As in Jay Bharat’s cases, these workers are often denied basic legal protections by their employers.

In August 2009, South Asian Network (SAN) launched a workers’ rights campaign for Pioneer Boulevard employees to be informed of their rights, take action against abuses, and help business owners comply with California labor laws as a way to build a strong Artesia business and residential community.  SAN is a community-based organization located on Pioneer Boulevard dedicated to advancing the health, empowerment and solidarity of persons of South Asian descent since 1990.

At Patel’s two stores, employees worked 55 hours a week while being denied minimum wage and overtime hours.  According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA ), employees working in excess of 40 hours per week should get paid an overtime rate of time-and-a-half of their regular pay rate. Minimum wage in California is currently $8.00 an hour.

Investigators also determined that Patel violated the FLSA record-keeping requirements by failing to keep accurate and thorough records of employee work hours, wages and deductions.  Patel agreed to pay the entire sum owed to his employees and has committed to maintaining future compliance with federal minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements.

Investigators interviewed employees and reviewed payroll records at Jay Bharat Food Inc. to find twelve employees were owed $41,428 in minimum wage and overtime back wages, and Standard Foods L.L.C. employed ten employees who are owed $53,442 in minimum wages and overtime back wages.

In Summer 2011, SAN will launch the first ever Pioneer Boulevard workers’ rights report, documenting the experiences and aspirations of low-income South Asian and Latino workers in the Artesia area.  SAN encourages owners to treat workers with dignity and respect and comply with laws in order to strengthen the “Little India” business community.


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