Convenience Store Ordered to Pay $62,794 in FLSA Case

 
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
 
After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has ordered Ho-Jo's Mini Mart – based in Erin, Tennessee – and its owner David Gardner to pay $62,794 in back wages and liquidated damages to 18 employees for violations of the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In addition to ordering payment of back wages and damages, the court permanently enjoined Ho-Jo's Mini Mart and Gardner from committing future violations of the FLSA, and assessed the store a civil money penalty of $7,908.

WHD investigators determined Ho-Jo's Mini Mart failed to pay employees for all of the hours they spent in training and required some employees to work off the clock without pay. By doing so, the employer caused employees' average pay per hour to drop below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The employer also paid some employees flat salaries without regard to the number of hours that they worked. That practice resulted in some workers being paid less than the minimum wage, and resulted in overtime violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours per week.

In addition, Ho-Jo's Mini Mart paid other employees straight time for their overtime hours, and failed to pay other employees any wages at all for overtime hours they worked off the clock. Investigators also found the employer altered time records to create the appearance that employees had worked fewer than 40 hours when they had exceeded that threshold and were legally due overtime.

"Employers must pay employees the wages they have legally earned for all the hours they have worked," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nettie Lewis, in Nashville. "The outcome of this investigation serves as a reminder for all employers to review their pay practices and to confirm they are paying their employees as the law prescribes. The Wage and Hour Division offers numerous tools to help employers learn about their responsibilities and how to comply with the law."

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.
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