PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division contends some New Jersey gas station owners are exploiting workers, and paying them less than a fair wage. It has recovered more than $1.2-million in back wages for nearly 400 workers.

Wage and Hour investigators said some gas stations were “rife” with pay terms that included a flat salary or “straight time” for all hours, “without regard to minimum wage and overtime for more than 40 hours per week.”

Sal Risalvato, the executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline C Store Automotive Association, said the Labor Department should have issued a warning first.

The Labor Department’s Joe Petrecca said, “We continue to reach out to them to improve the knowledge in the workplace about what the laws require.”

Risalvato said in many cases, there was an agreement between a business owner and an employee for work to be performed, “Then there really isn’t anything problematic about it and it’s far from a business owner ripping off his employees.”

Petrecca said it’s “inconceivable” to him that gas station owners don’t know employees should get at least minimum wage and overtime after 40 hours in a week.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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