Court orders Northern New Jersey car washes, oil change shop to pay $325K in back wages, damages to 45 employees for underpaying workers
WESTWOOD, NJ – Owners of two Westwood car wash establishments and an oil change shop routinely shortchanged employees who worked long hours doing physically demanding work. As a result of a federal investigation and recent court order, the firm must pay $325,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for failing to pay the minimum wage and overtime. Some employees who worked as many as 70 hours in a workweek received only straight time for all the hours they worked.
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Nanard Enterprises Inc., Oilube R We Inc., and owners Bernard and Nancy Torraco and General Manager Anton Musto failed to pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and did not pay overtime to employees who worked over 40 hours in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department’s Regional Solicitor in New York began litigation when the firm would not agree to a resolution.
In response to the department’s complaint, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark entered a consent judgment requiring Westwood Car Wash, Old Hook Car Wash and 10-Minute Oil Lube to pay $162,500 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 45 car wash and oil change technicians, and cashiers. In addition to paying back wages and liquidated damages, the employers have agreed to an injunction against future violations.
“When workers in low-wage industries such as these are illegally denied minimum wages and overtime pay, it is difficult for them to make ends meet and care for their families,” said Wage and Hour Director Paula Ruffin in Mountainside. “The Wage and Hour Division will hold employers accountable when they fail to comply with the law and will take robust action when workers’ rights are being violated.”
“This consent judgment ensures these workers are paid fairly and receive all of their hard-earned wages,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York. “Our litigation and the court’s action sends a clear signal to employers that shortchanging workers and violating the law to gain an unfair competitive advantage will not be tolerated.”
Trial attorney Rosemary Almonte litigated the case for the department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the agency, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.
Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.