After a extensive three-week trial, over 700 current and former employees of Raceway Petroleum were awarded nearly 4 million dollars for unpaid overtime and penalties. The majority of the employees were gas station attendants in New Jersey which one of the few states that allows full-service service at gas stations. Under state and federal overtime laws, eligible employees such as gas station attendants are required to be paid time and a half for hours they work in excess of forty hours in a week. Here, some of the employees worked over 100 hours in a week without being paid overtime. Like many employers who do not pay their employees overtime, Raceway Petroleum did not keep accurate time and payroll records which are required by state and federal laws. In the absence of the employer’s records, the court may rely on an employee’s records and credible testimony. This case and principle demonstrates the importance of every employee keeping accurate time and payroll records in the event there is a dispute for the employer and employee. If an employee is not paid overtime, the employee should start to keep time records in a diary, day planner or online calendar. The employee’s records can be informal and handwritten.
In this case, the employees were also docked pay for time periods that were greater than the breaks taken. This is the equivalent of a second theft against the employee. First the employees were robbed of overtime pay and then robbed of pay when they were working but accused of taking a break. Responsible employers will maintain credible time-keeping systems such a punch-card clock system or sign-in and sign-out sheets. In the absence of such systems, employees should ask their employer to implement a proper time keeping system and keep accurate contemporaneous records.
If you, your friends or loved ones were not paid overtime wages and wish to discuss the circumstances surrounding the termination, the experienced Employment Law Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala can help you. Call us now at (800) 893-9645 for a free initial telephone consultation.
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