MEMPHIS, TN – 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 investigation has found.   

The department’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 Fair Labor Standards Act specifies what employers can and can’t do when it comes to workers’ pay,” said Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta. “Keeping false and inaccurate records to avoid paying workers as the law requires is illegal and makes it more difficult to retain qualified employees.”

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.

The Wage and Hour Division encourages people to contact the agency directly with questions or use free, online resources to understand their workplace responsibilities, including an online FLSA guide that outlines common violations. Workers and employers alike, can also call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) confidentially with questions regarding their rights and responsibilities.

The department is dedicated to improving the conditions of workers and helping employers understand their legal responsibilities and help them enhance workplace dynamics that cultivate healthy organizations.  

Visit the agency’s website to learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

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