C-Mart supermarkets are located in Boston’s South End and Chinatown neighborhoods, as well as in Quincy, Mass.
Boston-based supermarket chain C-Mart will pay $800,000 to settle allegations that it violated state labor laws by failing to pay workers overtime and premium weekend rates.
Attorney General (AG) Andrea Joy Campbell’s office secured the settlement from the owners of three C-Mart stores, which specialize in Asian foods and are located in Boston’s South End and Chinatown neighborhoods, as well as in Quincy, Mass.
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The C-Mart stores, along with their corporate presidents, Maio Kun Fang, Bao Song Qu and Quxiang Lin, were issued 15 citations in 2021. The citations were the result of an investigation in which the AG’s Fair Labor Division concluded that C-Mart stores failed to furnish true and accurate payroll records; failed to post required workplace notices, including earned sick time posters; and did not properly pay workers for overtime hours or for hours worked on Sundays. The AG’s office reached the settlement with C-Mart for $800,000 following an appeal from the company and its owners over the 2021 citations.
Most employees in Massachusetts are entitled to time-and-a-half pay when working more than 40 hours a week. During the time period investigated, most retail employees were also entitled to premium pay for time worked on Sundays.
“I am proud of the office’s work to ensure that the workers harmed by C-Mart will get back the wages they are rightfully owed,” said Campbell. “My office, and particularly our Fair Labor Division, will continue to hold employers accountable for wage theft and violation of our wage and hour laws.”
According to WBUR, a lawyer for C-Mart said via email that the company cooperated with the investigation and that while it did not agree with the attorney general’s methodology for calculating the amount due, it was pleased to reach a resolution without litigation.
“This matter arose due to bookkeeping system issues and the unavailability of timecards, not to bad faith of anyone at C-Mart," attorney Matthew Morris said.
The company has changed its policies to comply with state law, he said.
The AG’s office will distribute money to affected C-Mart employees through a claims process. Between now and July, individuals who worked for C-Mart’s Boston and Quincy stores between November 2016 and November 2019 may submit a form, which is available in both English and Chinese, to the AG’s office. Workers must submit a completed form by July 6 to be eligible to receive a share of the wages collected through the settlement.