U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in New York Gas Station Paying $262,151 in Back Wages, Damages and Penalties
NEW YORK, NY – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), E-Z Station Inc. - operator of a Mobil gas station in Long Island City, New York - has paid seven employees $129,722 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employer also paid $2,706 in penalties.
WHD investigators found that the employer violated the FLSA's overtime requirements when it paid seven employees straight-time rates when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, and failed to pay them for the overtime hours at time-and-one-half their regular rates, as the law requires. The employer also violated minimum wage requirements when it paid one employee – a gas attendant who worked between 70 and 84 hours per week – $6.00 per hour, less than the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage the FLSA requires.
Recordkeeping violations included failing to keep complete and accurate payroll and time records such as time sheets and records of cash payments. WHD also found the employer interfered with the investigation by instructing employees to mislead and provide false information to investigators.
"Employers must pay their employees for all the hours they work – including legally required minimum wage and overtime rates and maintain complete and accurate records. Failure to do so short-changes their employees and puts employers that play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage," said Wage and Hour Division Assistant District Director Jorge Alvarez in New York City. "Other employers should take the resolution of this case as an opportunity to evaluate their own pay practices, ensure they are in compliance, and understand that instructing employees to lie to the U.S. Department of Labor will not be tolerated."
The Department of Labor offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, electronic toolkits, 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 https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
WHD provides employers with compliance assistance resources related to the H-1B visa program. For more information about this visa program other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by WHD.
WHD's mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the Nation's workforce. WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to Federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.