Houston workers get nearly $2 million in back pay

February 24, 2011 10:10:51 AM PST
U.S. Department of Labor officials have recovered $1.8 million in back wages for nearly 400 workers of a Houston-based grocery store chain. The Labor Department announced Thursday it also secured $200,000 in civil penalties as part of settling a lawsuit it filed against four grocery stores, doing business as Hong Kong Market, and owners Hai Du Duong and Ha Duong.

Officials say their probe found employees worked as many as 70 hours per week, but were paid less than minimum wage and denied overtime.

The investigation also found the chain and its owners had falsified payroll records and coerced workers to return wages.

An attorney for the grocery store chain did not immediately return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.