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DOL Recovers More Than $1.2 Million in Back Wages, Damages for 113 Poultry Plant Workers

Oct. 4, 2023
A U.S. federal court has penalized the Los Angeles-area plant’s owners for withholding overtime wages and attempting to cover up the scheme in various ways.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, a federal court has ordered the operators of the La Puente poultry processing plant in the Los Angeles area to pay more than $1 million in overtime wages that the DOL says were deliberately withheld from 113 workers. The DOL further stated that the employers told some workers to forge timesheets and threatened them not to cooperate with federal investigators, and also created shell companies to try and hide overtime violations between 2015 and 2020.

This action marks the end of a long-running litigation against TL Foods Inc. and its owner Lily ‘Mei’ Tseng; Express Poultry Services Inc. and its owner Jimmy Huynh; and joint employers Aiwa Tang-Ton, Kevin Truong and KP Poultry Inc. for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the announcement stated.

Tseng and TL Foods Inc. must pay more than $1 million in back wages and damages, while Huynh and Express Poultry Services Inc. will pay $210,438 in back wages and damages to the affected workers. The court also forbids the employers from future FLSA violations.

Co-defendants and joint employers Tang-Ton, Truong and KP Poultry Inc. entered into consent judgments with the department previously and agreed to pay $531,518 in back wages, liquidated damages and interest to affected workers, and $20,000 in civil money penalties.

In total, the department obtained four judgments to recover more than $1.2 million in back wages, damages and interest to the affected workers.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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