LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has reached a settlement agreement with owners of six southern New Jersey gas stations to pay nearly $500,000 in back wages and damages to 27 employees working as gas station attendants.
The Division found that R & R Store Inc. – doing business as USA Gas – and its co-owners Prabhjit Singh and Harbir Riar, violated the overtime, minimum wage, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employers paid 27 workers a flat monthly salary between $2,200 and $2,400, without regard to minimum wage and overtime requirements. These employees worked an average of 70 hours per week, and were not paid premium pay for their overtime hours. Additionally, the employers failed to maintain time and payroll records.
“Not paying employees the wages they’ve earned seriously impacts low-wage employees, such as gas station attendants, causing them hardships as they try to support themselves and their families,” said Charlene Rachor, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Southern New Jersey District Office. “The U.S. Department of Labor remains focused on New Jersey’s gas stations to determine if FLSA violations exist. If violations are found, we will vigorously pursue corrective action to ensure accountability, deter future violations, and prevent violators from gaining a competitive advantage.”
As part of the settlement agreement, the employers agreed to future FLSA compliance and to pay back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages totaling $463,453.52 at the company’s locations as follows:
- $39,116 to four employees at 47 Chestnut St. in Elmer.
- $34,670 to five employees at 206 Hanover St. in Pemberton.
- $39,983 to three employees at 106 W. Main St. in Maple Shade.
- $39,936 to three employees at 402 Landis Ave. in Vineland.
- $38,698 to nine employees at 2523 Route 206 in Mount Holly.
- $39,321 to three employees at 3970 N. Delsea Drive in Newfield.
New Jersey is one of only two U.S. states that bars motorists from pumping their own gas. Gas stations there must employ full-service gas station attendants to operate gas pumps and provide other related customer services.
The FLSA requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Some states have established minimum wage rates that differ from the federal minimum wage. Where federal and a state law have different minimum wage rates, the higher standard applies. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about federal wage laws administered by division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.