The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recovered a substantial sum in back pay for 295 New Jersey gas station workers deemed to be improperly compensated, according to the Star-Ledger. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division reportedly awarded over $1 million to the workers for gas station violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This award amounts to around $3,440 per worker. The DOL reported "consistent and widespread noncompliance with the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”
This recovery of back wages is part of an ongoing multi-part investigation by the Department of Labor into labor practices in both Oregon and New Jersey, the two states that employ gas station attendants. Most of the violations included compensation below the federal minimum wage of at least $7.25 per hour, failure to pay time-and-a-half for time worked over 40 hours per week, and the paying of cash wages not recorded in the books.
Reportedly, only 25 percent of the seventy-four investigations were compliant with the FLSA. Additionally, sixty-nine of the seventy-four investigations were conducted at BP gas stations. Allegedly, after initially refusing, BP Products North America has sent letters to all of its local marketers instructing them to ensure labor law compliance. To prevent non-compliance and fight ignorance, the DOL held two November seminars (in Pompton Plains and Toms River) to educate gas station owners on proper bookkeeping and payment methods.
If you believe that your employer may be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or any state employment laws, it may be possible to receive back pay for lost wages. Contact a dedicated overtime attorney to see if you could be eligible to enter a lawsuit to receive compensation for unpaid overtime or underpayment.