A New Jersey-based company has agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle a lawsuit claiming it illegally denied overtime pay to gas station attendants, the U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday.

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Bergen County-based Daniyal Enterprises and owner Waseem Chaudhary will pay $2 million in overtime back pay and $1 million in damages to 417 workers at 72 of its gas stations in New Jersey. The company also will pay $91,000 in penalties and submit to monitoring for three years.

In a civil complaint filed in December, gas station attendants charged they routinely worked 84 hours or more per week but weren't paid overtime. Labor investigators found some of the employees were paid in cash to hide the violations and that Daniyal failed to keep accurate records of employee hours.

Federal labor laws requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as one and one-half times their regular rates for hours worked over 40 per week.

"This agreement returns hard-earned wages to workers in one of only two states that still mandates full-service gas pumps," acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris said. "Gas station attendants are few in number, earn low wages, work long hours and often lack English proficiency -- factors that contribute to their vulnerability as well as the importance of protecting their right to be paid properly."

A phone number listed for Daniyal in Oradell was disconnected. His attorney could not be reached after hours Thursday.

Most of the employees worked at gas stations in central and northern New Jersey listed under names such as Roadway Fuel, Ali Fuel, Green Fuel and Waseem Gas and Go.


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