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Raceway Petroleum to pay $4 million in back wages

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has obtained a $3.9 million judgment against Piscataway-based Raceway Petroleum. The money will compensate 700 current and former employees whose wages were affected by Raceway’s violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Raceway owner Nicholas Kambatsis will pay a $100,000 fine in addition to the wages. Raceway operates gas stations throughout Central and Southern New Jersey.

The DOL had brought charges against Raceway, and the matter went to trial in federal court. During three weeks of testimony, 25 witnesses described working excessive hours—sometimes as many as 100 hours per week—without being properly compensated.

Testimony revealed that Raceway would deduct as much as two hours a day for breaks when employees actually took only one 30-minute break.

In the end, Raceway was found guilty of failing to properly pay overtime to its employees and failing to keep accurate employee time records.

In addition to the back wages and liquidated damages, an independent monitor will track all workers’ hours and payments. Raceway must install an electronic timekeeping system to accurately record employees’ hours.

Note: Overtime suits are hot. When the DOL overhauled FLSA regulations in 2004, it hoped to simplify them. That raised awareness of the law among workers and their attorneys. Since then, wage-and-hour lawsuits have mushroomed across the country.

Advice: Make sure you have accurate records for all hourly workers—and that you’ve properly classified all workers as either exempt or nonexempt.

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