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Post date: July 13 2009

Attorney General Cuomo Sues Lemongrass Grill To Recover $1 Million In Unpaid Wages And Damages

NEW YORK, NY (July 13, 2009) — Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a lawsuit against Liberty Thai Corp. d/b/a Lemongrass Grill, located at 84 Williams Street in Manhattan, and its owner Hann Low of Manhattan.  The lawsuit seeks the recovery of one million dollars in unpaid wages and damages owed to the restaurant’s delivery workers, bussers, dishwashers and food preparers.

“Plain and simple, shortchanging your employees is against the law,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Lemongrass Grill is the latest employer this Office is holding accountable for cheating hardworking New Yorkers out of fair pay. Today’s action should be a message to companies and individuals across the State that such blatant violations of New York’s labor laws come with a price.”

According to the lawsuit filed today in New York Supreme Court, Lemongrass’s employees, operating out of the popular Thai restaurant’s downtown location, worked up to 72 hours a week, for less than minimum wage and without overtime compensation. Delivery workers were paid only $25 per day, or $2.08 per hour.  As a result, some delivery workers were underpaid by more than $350 each week.  Food preparers working in the kitchen received a meager $330 each week, or $4.23 per hour, over $200 less per week than they should have been making.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges that Mr. Low knowingly paid his employees illegally low wages, and failed to keep proper records of hours and wages as required by law.  Mr. Low started making changes in his employment practices after learning of the OAG’s investigation.

Today’s lawsuit is the latest in a string of actions taken by Attorney General Cuomo and his Office to protect New York’s workforce and enforce state labor laws. Earlier this month he announced a million-dollar settlement with Associated Supermarket and Pioneer Supermarket, both of Brooklyn, for labor law violations. Under the terms of the settlement, the supermarket owners will pay restitution to over 50 of their employees totaling $1.125 million. In March, his Office arrested the owners of two Bronx businesses – Arthur Ave. Bakery and Getty Gas Station – for failure to pay wages, failure to file taxes and filing false documents with the State.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Mina Kim, under the supervision of Deputy Labor Bureau Chief Patricia Kakalec and Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice James Rogers.