HomeColumbiaColumbia gas station owes $153,000 in unpaid overtime to 29 employees, federal...

Columbia gas station owes $153,000 in unpaid overtime to 29 employees, federal investigation finds

Columbia, South Carolina – A gas station in West Columbia owes more than $153,000 in unpaid overtime to over two dozen workers, as announced by the U.S. Department of Labor on May 15. Samer Express, a gas station and convenience store on Highway 321, did not pay 29 employees the required time-and-a-half rate for working over 40 hours per week, according to a federal labor department investigation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 sets rules for minimum wage, overtime pay, and other worker rights.

“Failing to pay the proper rate for all of the hours employees work is a violation employers can and must avoid,” said Jamie Benefiel, the wage and hour division district director in Columbia, as reported by The Post and Courier.

The gas station, Samer Express, which filed for a business license in January 2017, is owned by Efrain Sanchez, who also owns Sanchez Construction, according to the state’s business filings database. The large amount of back pay adds to a total of $271,000 the U.S. Department of Labor has recovered from South Carolina employers this year.

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Just a month ago, the labor department recovered $125,000 in back pay for 25 employees at Krafty Draft Brew Pub, a bar and restaurant in Lexington, after the owners illegally split tips. Before that, two other restaurants were penalized for not paying employees properly. In October 2023, Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant in Columbia was found to owe nearly $400,000 in wages and failed to pay the minimum wage.

U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that a gas station in West Columbia owes more than $153,000 in unpaid overtime to 29 employees
Credit: Unsplash

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Alodia’s Cucina Italiana in Lexington was fined $2,100 by the state’s labor department for withholding wages from employees after most of the staff walked off the job a few months earlier.

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