CORRECTED: Federal Court Orders New Jersey Gas Stations and Owner to Pay $650,000 After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation and Litigation
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has entered a consent judgment requiring five South Jersey gas stations, and their main owner Gurmeet Singh to pay $325,000 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 29 current and former employees. The consent judgment comes after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and litigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Solicitor.
- NS & GS LLC - operating as Third & Landis Riggins Vineland - 301 W. Landis Ave. in Vineland;
- Sehjog LLC - operating as Millville Gulf - 812 N. 2nd St. in Millville;
- S. Hari Singh Mgt. Inc. - operating as Burlington Gulf - 629 High Street in Burlington;
- Woodlane Amoco Inc. - operating as Woodlane Gulf - 1866 Route 541 in Westampton; and
- Station Mgt. Inc. - operating as Tom's Pennsauken Point Gulf - 7431 N. Crescent Blvd. in Pennsauken.
WHD found that - from at least October 1, 2014 to August 31, 2016 - the defendants paid all employees a flat monthly salary for all the hours that they worked, resulting in some employees' hourly rates falling below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This practice also resulted in overtime violations when employees routinely worked more than 40 hours per workweek, yet were not paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay. The defendants also violated FLSA recordkeeping requirements when they failed to make and maintain accurate pay and time records. In July 2017, the Department filed suit against the defendants.
"The attendants hired to operate gas pumps and provide related customer services must be paid for all the hours that they work," said Wage and Hour District Director Charlene Rachor, in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. "The Wage and Hour Division offers numerous tools to help employers learn about their responsibilities and how to comply with the law. We encourage employers to reach out to us for assistance."
"This consent judgment sends a clear message to New Jersey gas station employers that failure to pay employees their rightfully earned wages comes at a high cost," said Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York.
In addition to requiring the defendants to pay back wages and liquidated damages, the consent judgment prohibits defendants from violating the FLSA in the future and prohibits defendants from directly or indirectly demanding, requiring, or accepting any of the back wages or liquidated damages paid to employees.
The Division's Southern New Jersey District Office investigated the case. Senior Trial Attorneys Allison L. Bowles and James R. Wong and Trial Attorney Frances Y. Ma litigated the case for the Department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.
The Department provides numerous resources and tools to help employers understand their responsibilities and comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.