New Jersey Gas Station Charged with Wage Violations
Wage Violations Discovered
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently entered a judgment requiring five New Jersey gas stations to pay more than $300,000 in back wages as well as liquidated damages to current and former workers for wage and overtime violations.
How the Wage Violations Occurred
From October 1, 2014 to August 31, 2016, the company was illegally paying its employees a flat monthly salary – meaning the employees were not compensated extra for overtime hours as required by federal law and some employees’ hourly rates falling below the federal minimum wage. Employers often pay employees flat salaries to avoid paying overtime, which is a violation of the federal overtime laws. When employees work more than 40 hours in a week, the employer must compensate them with extra compensation at one-and-one-half their regular earnings rate.
Commentary on the Investigation
In a more recent news release, a spokesperson for the Wage and Hour Division stated that attendants hired to operate gas pumps and provide customer service must be compensated for all of the hours that they work. The Wage and Hour Division offers a number of different tools to help employers learn about their various responsibilities and how to comply with the law. In response to the decision, a New York Regional Solicitor has stated that this act sends a clear message that employers are required to pay workers their rightfully earned wages.
The Results of the Investigation
In addition to requiring the defendants to pay back wages and liquidated damages, the judgment prohibits defendants from violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and also prohibits the defendants from directly or indirectly accepting any type of back wage or liquidated damages paid to workers. The Wage and Hour division provides numerous resources to help workers understand their compliance expectations.
Common Wage Violations
Some of the most common wage violations that employers are known to commit (and of which workers should be aware) include the following:
- Failing to pay workers overtime wages even though worker is legally entitled to overtime pay – whether an employee is entitled to overtime pay is more than about whether an employer classifies an employee as “salary” or “exempt.”
- Workers may be entitled to overtime pay even if the worker is paid a salary, day rate, or other fixed rate of pay.
- Illegally classifying employees as “exempt from overtime” to avoid paying overtime.
- Illegally classifying workers as “independent contractors” to avoid complying with employment laws.
- Employers are prohibited from terminating workers because they ask the employer to follow federal wage laws including the payment of overtime.
- While the federal government does not require employers to immediately compensate workers if the employee is fired or quits, employees should receive compensation by the next regular payday.
- An employer is prohibited from withholding payment of a worker’s wages
- Requiring waiters, waitresses, and other subminimum wage workers to illegally share tips with their employer, managers, or non-tipped employees including back-of-the-house employees
Speak with an Experienced Overtime Attorney
If you are a worker who believes that you were subjected to unfair wage and overtime violations, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced wage and hour attorney. Contact the wage and overtime attorneys at Herrmann Law today to speak with an experienced attorney who will remain committed to making sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. You can reach Herrmann Law by calling 817-479-9229 or completing our online form and someone from our office will contact you within 24 hours.