The owner of three Buffalo-area gas stations has paid a total of $84,000 in back wages in overtime and damages to 41 employees after an investigation by the Buffalo area office of U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Investigators found that Angola Food Mart Inc. (Angola), LHP Food Mart Inc. (Buffalo) and Lake Shore Mini Mart, Inc. (Hamburg) gas stations violated the minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, the gas stations:
- Failed to pay some employees overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a work week, including one who regularly worked more than 70 hours a week.
- Failed to pay some gas station workers for all the hours that they worked, including time spent in training and in performing work before and after their scheduled shifts. Required employees to pay for cash register shortages and damaged or missing merchandise, such as stolen gas, errors in printing lottery tickets, and missing merchandise. Making deductions from wages for these items resulted in minimum wage and overtime violations.
- Failed to combine the hours worked by one employee at two locations of the business when determining when overtime was due.
- Falsified time records to create the appearance that employees did not work overtime even though some gas station employees regularly worked more than 40 hours per week.
“Too often we see employers paying straight time for overtime in cash off the books in this industry,” said Michael Fitzgerald, assistant district director of the Department of Labor’s Buffalo Area Office. “This investigation and its outcome should send a clear message: We will continue to use every enforcement tool available to hold employers accountable, to level the playing field for those who play by the rules, and to ensure that workers are paid what they have rightfully earned.”