LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- An owner of six convenience stores in southern New Jersey has paid nearly $1.5 million in back wages and damages to 24 employees after being found guilty of labor law violations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Manjit Guleria, who owns five CITGO Petroleum Corp. stores and one Lukoil store, required employees to work more than 70 hours a week while paying a salary that fell below the federal minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The DOL investigation also found incomplete payroll records, the agency said.
Besides paying more than $1 million in back wages for minimum wage, overtime and liquidated damages, Guleria was ordered to pay a $8,976 fee for failure to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. The entire ruling added up to $1,471,024 in pay and fees, according to the DOL.
“This settlement puts these wages into the hands of the employees who earned them,” said Charlene Rachor, director of the division’s Southern Jersey District Office in Lawrenceville, N.J., in a statement. “The division encourages employers to avail themselves of the many resources we provide to help them to operate in compliance and not to find themselves facing the liabilities that can come with breaking the law.”
To help properly track hours and payroll in the future, the retailer will now implement an electronic timekeeping system, Rachor said. Guleria will also change and enforce break policies and provide information about employees’ rights under law.