Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Department of Labor sues 2 Cincinnati gas stations and owner to recover back wages, liquidated damages for 23 workers
CINCINNATI -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit in federal court in Cincinnati to recover back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 23 current and former workers at the BP and Marathon gas stations located on Winton Road in Cincinnati. The suit alleges that the businesses and owner Mario Abraham violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay minimum wage and overtime compensation, and to keep accurate time and payroll records.
The lawsuit also seeks a court order prohibiting Abraham; Starv’n Sam Co., owner of the BP gas station in the 6400 block of Winton Road; and Delta Oil Co., owner of the Marathon gas station in the 11000 block of Winton Road; from violating the FLSA in the future.
“These employers, while operating under the banner of multibillion-dollar corporations, willfully and repeatedly deprived vulnerable workers of their rightful minimum wage and overtime compensation,” said George Victory, director of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division district office in Columbus. “There is no excuse for denying workers their hard-earned wages. The message is clear: The Labor Department will use all available enforcement tools, including litigation, to bring violators into compliance and level the playing field so law-abiding employers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage for playing by the rules, and paying their workers full and fair wages.”
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The act also requires covered employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records indicating their employees’ identities, work schedules, total hours worked, regular and overtime pay rates, total wages paid and other conditions of employment. All such records are subject to inspection by the Wage and Hour Division and must be made available to investigators upon request.
Investigations conducted by the division disclosed systemic FLSA violations at both gas stations, resulting from the defendants’ repeated and willful use of evasive pay practices such as paying workers a flat salary for all hours, without regard to minimum wage and overtime requirements, as well as paying workers “off the books,” rather than maintaining legally required payroll records. Furthermore, the defendants refused to cooperate with the division during the course of these investigations by submitting falsified time and payroll records, and destroying other important records subject to inspection under the FLSA upon notice of the investigation.
The Wage and Hour Division found that the 23 employees are owed $111,468 in minimum wage and overtime back wages. The suit was filed after the Labor Department was unable to reach an agreement with Abraham to pay the back wages and comply with the FLSA.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available online at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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