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Smoke shop agrees to pay ex-worker $50K in damages, overtime

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A smoke shop business owner in New Hampshire has agreed to pay $50,000 in punitive damages and back pay to a worker who was fired after asking to be paid overtime, the U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday.

Before meeting with his employer in September, the worker had contacted the department’s Wage and Hour Division to discuss his overtime pay concerns, the department said in a news release. The worker then complained to the business owner about not being paid properly for overtime hours worked, and was fired.

The department filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire alleging that Smokers Haven and its owner violated anti-retaliation, overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In addition to the $50,000, the worker was paid more than $2,000 in back pay for his period between jobs after he was discharged and more than $1,000 in overtime wages. Smokers Haven also paid four other workers overtime back wages, the department said.

The owner signed a consent judgment dated Jan. 28 agreeing to the payments, and agreeing that the business has been in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act since Oct. 22, 2021.

An email seeking comment was left at the business.

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