The operator of a Memphis Shell gas station and convenience store paid workers cash bonuses in place of overtime pay and persuaded them to sign altered time records to avoid paying full overtime wages due, a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) investigation has found. DOL's Wage and Hour Division found Thirsty Enterprise LLC also failed to pay one employee the federal minimum wage. The worker received a fixed salary for all hours worked, but the salary provided less the required minimum wage for each hour of work. The employer also paid cashiers – some who worked more than 80 hours per week – with checks that showed fewer hours than actually worked and asked the employees to sign altered time records. The employer then paid those workers the balance of the hours worked in cash at straight-time rates, rather than the time-and-one-half required for hours that exceeded 40 in a workweek.
The employer’s actions violated minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The division recovered $30,005 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for four workers. The employer paid a $2,324 civil money penalty to address the violations.
This case should serve as a critical reminder to both employees and employers alike that the Fair Labor Standards Act specifies precisely what employers can and cannot do when it comes to workers’ pay. Keeping false and inaccurate records to avoid paying workers as the law requires is illegal and subjects a business to significant fines and penalties for which its employees can pursue through DOL investigations as well as private litigation. Wallace Meyaski’s has extensive experience in representing both employees and business employers on a wide variety of employment litigation and compliance issues, including all aspects of federal and state wage and hour disputes.
For more information regarding how Wallace Meyaski can help you in pursuing your wage and hour claims or protecting your business from a similar fate, please contact us here.