WEST COVINA, Calif – Following an investigation from its Wage and Hour Division, the US Department of Labor (DOL) filed a lawsuit against poultry processing companies in Los Angeles County who failed to pay overtime wages.

DOL filed its lawsuit against employers Lily “Mei” Tseng, Aiwa Tang-Ton, Kevin Truong, Jimmy Huynh, and their companies KP Poultry, TL Foods and Express Poultry Services. In its complaint, the DOL alleged that the companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

During July, US District Court for the Central District of California approved a consent judgment where KP Poultry and Truong admitted FLSA violations and agreed to pay $200,000 in back wages and damages to 103 employees who were denied overtime pay.  

In early October, the court also determined that Tseng, owner of TL Foods and Huynh, owner of Express Poultry Services, are liable for FLSA violations their companies committed. The litigation with the remaining defendants is ongoing.

The division found that these employers failed to pay proper overtime to employees who worked up to 70 hours per week. 

DOL said in a statement that the cutter and packer employees were coerced into accepting low wages by employers who told them to forge their timesheets to hide overtime hours. The employers also demanded the employees to pay for knives, gloves, aprons, hair nets and boots they needed to work, and allegedly threatened workers for cooperating with a federal investigation.

“Work in a poultry processing plant requires long hours and strenuous labor. The rapid pace demands intense focus to avoid serious injury,” said Rafel Valles, assistant district director for the Wage and Hour Division. “The essential workers who perform this work are putting food on the table of families across this country and they deserve respect and fair pay.”