A New Jersey gasoline station mogul who owns 72 stations across the state, including one on Valley Street in Maplewood, agreed to pay $2 million in unpaid overtime to his employees.
Waseem Chaudhary, the proprieter of Madison-based Daniyal Enterprises LLC, also agreed to pay another $1 million in "liquidated damages" - added compensation paid directly to the 417 affected employees - as part of a consent judgment.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DLWHD) found Chaudhary and his firm engaged in violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and charged him a $91,000 penalty for what they said was the "repeat[ed] and willful nature of the violations."
Wage and Hour Division investigators found that Chaudhary's employees often worked up to 84 hours per week, but did not receive earned overtime pay. Instead, many employees were paid partly on the payroll and partly off the books, sometimes in cash, to disguise the improper payment of overtime. The employer also failed to maintain accurate records of the hours employees worked, DLWHD said in a report.
Chaudhary's gasoline station empire spans most of the Garden State. He owns the Shell station at 490 Valley Street in Maplewood.
Chaudhary's website for one of his companies involved in the suit, Waseem Petroleum, has a list of some of the gasoline stations - most of which are Shell stations.
The website isn't complete; the sections entitled "History," "Vision," and "Leadership" are all labeled "Under Construction."
As part of the consent agreement to which Chaudhary agreed, he, his companies, and his gas stations will be signed up for a three-year monitoring program to be supervised by an independent monitor who will report to DLWHD.
The program, DLWHD said in a statement, will include the installation of biometric time clocks in each establishment; a notice to workers regarding the terms of the compliance agreement; FLSA training for all employees in English and other languages; an anti-kickback protection clause to ensure that all workers are paid any back wages due; and a toll-free telephone number for workers to report violations to the monitor.