“…(Wage and Hour Division investigators)…found widespread labor violations among restaurants in well-known tourist areas in San Francisco and throughout Los Angeles County…culture of noncompliance adversely impacts the wages and working conditions of many low-wage, vulnerable workers…”
Wage and Hour Division investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor conducted comprehensive reviews of payroll records and employment practices in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, in addition to employee interviews, and found that restaurants were violating minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions.
As a result, 273 restaurant workers will divvy up $672,333 in unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation, according to the feds.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time-and-a-half of their regular rates for hours worked over 40 per week. The law also says employers must keep accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. If employers don’t abide by these rules, they are liable to pay back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to employees.
For more: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2012/12/restuarant_workers_wage_and_hour_division.php
“…The class-action complaint…says Chipotle misclassified its “apprentices” as managerial salaried employees who don’t qualify for overtime pay. The suit contends apprentices earn salaries of $40,000 but frequently work more than 40 hours a week and often perform the duties of hourly workers, including cooking and filling orders…”
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. says a lawsuit alleging the Colorado- based company has failed to pay overtime to hundreds of employees is frivolous.
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said the restaurant chain carefully defines the roles in its restaurants and that the apprentice position is “clearly” a managerial role ineligible for overtime, under state and federal laws.
The lawsuit seeks back pay and damages. Chipotle has about 1,350 restaurants.
For more: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2012/11/19/271081.htm
“…investigation found that several restaurants “violated the FLSA by paying employees flat salaries for all hours worked without overtime pay, failing to combine hours worked at multiple locations for overtime purposes, paying incorrect overtime rates to tipped employees, making illegal deductions from employees’ wages and failing to keep accurate records of employees’ hours….”
“…Even more serious, our investigations found an emerging trend of misclassifying restaurant workers as independent contractors in order to avoid minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements of the FLSA.”
Dozens of eateries around the state are paying employees for back wages as a result of an ongoing enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor.
To date, investigations by the Boston District Office of the department’s Wage and Hour Division have found $1,307,808 in back wages due to 478 employees of 34 different Massachusetts restaurants.
Fifteen Not Your Average Joe’s locations have been cited, including the one on Enon Street in Beverly, which is to pay nine employees a total of $44,201.73 in back wages.
The investigation, according to a release by the U.S. Department of Labor, uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act in many Massachusetts restaurants.
Read more: Beverly restaurant to pay employees for back wages – Beverly, MA – Beverly Citizen http://www.wickedlocal.com/beverly/newsnow/x221034920/Beverly-restaurant-to-pay-employees-for-back-wages#ixzz1rJqNdvfO
”…to get all the rooms cleaned, she didn’t take lunch breaks or worked past the end of her shift…she estimates she is owed $5,200 for unpaid work over the past two years…”
”…intends to ask the court to make the lawsuit a class action open to more than 1,000 local hotel employees who worked for Hospitality Staffing during the past three years…”
An attorney representing 14 Indianapolis hourly hotel workers plans to file a lawsuit today alleging their employers failed to pay them for overtime. Ten Indianapolis hotels, including some of the city’s largest, and the staffing company for which the employees worked, Hospitality Staffing Solutions, are named in the prepared complaint. Jeffrey A. Macey, an Indianapolis attorney for the workers, said he plans to file the 24-page document today in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
Most of the 14 workers making the allegations were housekeepers or food service staff.
For more: http://www.indystar.com/article/20120109/LOCAL18/201090328/10-Indianapolis-hotels-named-lawsuit-alleging-workers-weren-t-paid-overtime?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CIndyStar.com
“. . .The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is planning an initiative that specifically targets every hotel, motel and resort in the United States for audits by the department’s Wage and Hour Division.”
“. . . DOL has labeled the lodging industry as a “high-risk industry” where violations of federal wage and hour laws are most likely to occur. The department has chosen to consider employees in the lodging industry as “the most vulnerable workers” in the country. As a result, you will be subject to a DOL audit, covering all of your employees…”
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has experienced a huge increase in funding and staffing, adding hundreds of new investigators, and is gearing up for a new wave of compliance audits and enforcement actions.
Specifically targeting the hospitality industry, the WHD plans to audit hotel employers for violations of overtime rules, minimum wage, family and medical leave, classification of exempt and non-exempt positions, and virtually every Federal labor wage and hour regulation.
- Perform an internal audit. Talk to your hotel labor lawyer who can organize an internal audit of your payroll practices, hiring practices, and recordkeeping procedures and then help ensure that your organization is in compliance with Federal laws, including H-2B requirements. It is important that you avoid precipitous action to terminate any employees that do not meet the H-2B visa requirements, because there are anti-discrimination laws that also apply to any termination based on immigration status.
- Understand your exposure. Hotels that use outside staffing agencies to hire employees face certain risks as well since they can be held responsible for failure on the part of the agency to comply with federal regulations. Also, employers with collective bargaining agreements may need to involve the union on various aspects of the audit, including H-2B visa employees if they are part of the “represented workforce.”
- Develop a strategy. Experienced hotel labor lawyers can let you know what to expect in a government compliance audit and should help you prepare a strategy for successfully cooperating with all phases of the audit. Your management team should be alerted so that no one panics when the audit notice is received, and they know the importance of getting it to the right person quickly so you can promptly launch the action plan you developed.
- Get involved. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is urging hotel employers to ask their elected officials to contact the U.S. Department of Labor on their behalf to express their opposition to the hospitality industry being singled out for compliance audits. AH&LA is the primary advocate of the hospitality industry in Washington D.C., giving a voice to thousands of individual hotels and owners. The Association’s success depends on the number of people in the industry that become involved and support the Association’s important work. To get involved and become a member of the AH&LA you can register on their website at www.ahla.com.
For more: http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000320/4047438.search?query=hospitality+industry+risks