Labor Department: Merrick eatery underpaid workers

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Zhang “has been very cooperative with the U.S. Labor Department,” Chan said. “The U.S. Labor Department was very impressed, too … so they had reduced their fines to a minimum.”

Chan also disputed the DOL’s charge that Xaga employees were paid less than minimum wage. “The employees, they exceed minimum wage,” Chan said. “Everyone exceeds minimum wage. I think the average [comes] out to be, like, $15 an hour. But it’s just because Ms. Zhang did not keep time records; rather, she paid them weekly. But that’s not compliant with the Labor Department law, because we have to pay them hourly … That was a mistake. Now they’re hourly.”

Chan added that she does not believe the Labor Department does enough outreach to educate first-time business owners about labor laws. She said that, in her opinion, its decision to publicize Zhang’s case was unwarranted, given her client’s level of cooperation.

“It’s really not good,” Chan said, “because if someone had made a mistake, and they already corrected it, you should give them a chance.”

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