US Department of Labor recovers $50K for North, South Carolina gas station workers, assesses $16K penalty for repeated violations
Employer: Shaun Sej Inc., operating as:
Buford Express, 4433 Pageland Highway, Lancaster, SC 29720
Catawba, 5955 Highway 5, Catawba, SC 29704
Knights, 1356 Flat Creek Road, Lancaster, SC 29720
R&K Indian Land, 8341 Charlotte Highway, Fort Mill, SC 29707
R&K Mint Hill, 9100 Lawyers Road, Charlotte, NC 28227
R&K Pence Road, 8712 Pence Road, Charlotte, NC 28215
Spot Food Store, 103 Pinckney St., Chester, SC 29706
Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer – operator of seven North and South Carolina gas stations and convenience stores – illegally deducted cash drawer shortages from employees’ wages. By doing so, the employer paid workers less than the federal minimum wage in some workweeks, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In addition, the division found Shaun Sej paid some employees by check for 40 hours, then paid cash at straight-time rates for hours over 40 in a workweek. The employer also failed to include additional incentive pay, $1 per hour paid to workers during the pandemic, in some employees’ regular rate when calculating overtime rates. Both practices led to the employer paying overtime rates at less than required by law.
The division identified similar violations by Sej in a 2001 and 2017 investigation that determined the employer paid a fixed salary for non-exempt employees and failed to pay employees for all hours worked over 40 hours in workweek.
Back wages and liquidated damages recovered for workers: $50,720 including liquidated damages for 80 employees.
Civil money penalties assessed: $16,832 to address the repeat nature of the violations.
Quote: “There is no wiggle room regarding federal wage laws. Employers must pay workers every penny they have earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina. “Employers who intentionally defy the law harm their employees and cheat their competitors. The Wage and Hour Division will continue to hold those who break the law accountable.”
Background: Employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including numerous online resources for employers, such as a fact sheet on overtime pay requirements of the FLSA. 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. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.