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Gas station owner to pay $84K in back wages, damages to 41 employees denied minimum wage, overtime pay at three Buffalo area locations
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The owner of three Buffalo-area gas stations has paid a total of $84,000 in back wages and damages to 41 employees after an investigation by the Buffalo area office of U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Lakhwinder Gill – the owner of the Angola Food Mart Inc. (Angola), LHP Food Mart Inc. (Buffalo) and Lake Shore Mini Mart, Inc. (Hamburg) gas stations – will also pay $1,000 in civil monetary penalties.
Investigators found that Gill violated the minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, Gill:
- Failed to pay some employees overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a work week, including one who regularly worked more than 70 hours a week.
- Failed to pay some employees for all the hours that they worked, including time spent in training and in performing work before and after their scheduled shifts. Required employees to pay for cash register shortages and damaged or missing merchandise, such as stolen gas, errors in printing lottery tickets, and missing merchandise. Making deductions from wages for these items resulted in minimum wage and overtime violations.
- Failed to combine the hours worked by one employee at two locations of the business when determining when overtime was due.
- Falsified time records to create the appearance that employees did not work overtime even though some employees regularly worked more than 40 hours per week.
See complaint here.
“Too often we see employers paying straight time for overtime in cash off the books in this industry,” said Michael Fitzgerald, assistant district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Buffalo Area Office. “This investigation and its outcome should send a clear message: We will continue to use every enforcement tool available to hold employers accountable, to level the playing field for those who play by the rules, and to ensure that workers are paid what they have rightfully earned.”
The consent judgment includes the following gas stations:
- Angola Food Mart Inc., doing business as Mobil, at 8445 Southwestern Boulevard, will pay 32 employees $26,671 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
- LHP Food Mart Inc., doing business as Valero, at 3932 South Park Ave., will pay eight employees $15,247 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
- Lake Shore Mini Mart, Inc., doing business as Mobil, at 4878 Lakeshore Road, will pay one employee $81.00 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
The Judgment also requires the employer to verbally inform all of their employees in English, and in any other language spoken by the workers, of their rights under the FLSA, the terms of the judgment, and their rights to cooperate with an investigation without fear of retaliation.
Senior Trial Attorney Kathryn L. Stewart provided legal services in support of this enforcement action for the Department of Labor’s New York Regional Office of the Solicitor. The case was filed with U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.
For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, or to file a complaint, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). All services are free and confidential. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.