GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The owner and operator of four western Michigan convenience stores agreed to pay $36,528 in back wages and damages to 13 workers to resolve a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor after its investigators found the company had inaccurate payroll records, paid employees “off-the-books” and denied them overtime wages when required, all in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.On Dec. 18, U.S. District Court Judge Jane M. Beckering for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids issued a consent judgment and order requiring Ali & Companies LLC and owner, Ali Haider, to pay the monies owed to the workers, employed at two 7-Eleven stores in East Lansing, one in Perry and one in Zeeland. The court order also requires Haider and the company to pay the department $10,491 in civil money penalties for its willful violations of the FLSA. Haider was the Michigan Franchise Owners Association of 7-Eleven’s president when the lawsuit was filed. “This case’s quick resolution puts hard-earned wages and damages into the pockets of 13 workers and sends a strong message to business owners that the Department of Labor will not tolerate wage theft and attempts to mask violations of federal wage laws,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Mary O’Rourke in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Employers have a legal obligation to pay workers all of their earned wages or face potentially costly consequences.”The court’s actions follow an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found — from at least Nov. 17, 2020 through Nov. 16, 2022 — the Okemos-based company and Haider did not pay workers overtime at time and one half their regular rate of pay for hours over 40 in a workweek. Instead, the employers paid some workers off the books, and failed to maintain accurate records of employee hours worked and pay received, all violations of the FLSA.As part of the judgment, Haider and the company have agreed to future FLSA compliance. They will also provide employees with information on federal wage laws and with accurate pay stubs that show all hours worked, wages paid and withholdings.Haider solely owned and operated the four 7-Eleven franchises involved in the department’s lawsuit. 7-Eleven Inc. was not sued. Founded in 1927, 7-Eleven Inc. is a globally recognized brand in the convenience-retailing industry with more stores than any other retailer in the world with more than 84,000 stores in 20 countries. Wholly owned by Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd., 7-Eleven Inc. is based in Irving, Texas and operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. 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 and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.United States Department of Labor v. Ali & Companies LLC, Ali HaiderCase number 1:23-cv-01033 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *