Tag Archives: Overtime

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: California Hotels Settle Federal “Wage Violation” Investigation For $60,000; Management Used Separate Payrolls For 53 Workers To Avoid Overtime Pay

Investigators determined that Miracle Springs Resort and Spa, and the nearby Desert Hot Springs Spa and Hotel, were under the same Hospitality Industry Wage Violation Lawsuitsmanagement, but they recorded employee hours on separate payrolls. When the affected employees’ hours were combined, the hours often totaled more than 40 per week, entitling the employees to overtime compensation for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, the employer would automatically deduct a 30-minute lunch break from some employees’ work hours, even when employees did not take the break.

The hotel Miracle Springs Resort and Spa of Desert Hot Springs has agreed to pay $59,790 in back wages to 53 employees, including maintenance and housekeeping employees, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found violations of the overtime provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Hotel owners and operators must ensure that their employees are properly compensated for all work hours,” said Kenneth Morrison, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s San Diego District Office. “We are pleased that these workers will be paid their rightful overtime wages and that the employer has agreed to make the appropriate changes to prevent future FLSA violations.”

The employer, along with paying the full back wages to the affected employees, will maintain future FLSA compliance by agreeing to combine the hours for employees who work at both hotel locations. The employer will deduct lunch breaks only when employees take the 30-minute break.

The hotel and motel industry employs many low-wage workers who, due to a lack of knowledge of the law or an unwillingness to exercise their rights, are vulnerable to disparate treatment and labor violations. The Wage and Hour Division is concerned about the noncompliance in this industry and is concentrating its resources on identifying and remedying violations, informing workers of their rights and providing compliance assistance to employers.

For more: http://www.dol.gov/whd/media/press/whdpressVB3.asp?pressdoc=Western/20131118.xml

Leave a comment

Filed under Employment Practices Liability, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership

Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: California Restaurants Fined More Than $1.9 Million For “Wage Theft Violations”; 47 Workers Paid Cash, No Minimum Wage Or Overtime

“…Some of the workers were forced to sign timecards containing falsified information stating they had only worked between five and six Hospitality Industry Wage Violation Lawsuitshours each day, the agency said. Others were paid in cash with no information on the total hours worked, rate of pay or deductions provided…The 47 workers are due $1,086,436 in unpaid minimum wages, $376,640 in unpaid overtime and $153,582 for no meal period premiums, the agency said. In addition, a total of $189,250 in civil penalties were assessed for wage violations…”

State labor regulators fined two Ukiah restaurants more than $1.9 million Thursday for alleged wage theft violations over three years. The violations at Walter Cafe and Ruen Tong Thai Cuisine involved 47 workers and included overlong workdays, failure to pay overtime and the forced falsification of timecards.

The fine “is one of the larger audits for the restaurant industry,” said Hennessy. The investigation is ongoing, she added, leaving open the possibility of additional penalties. Ritdet and Walter are being held both individually and jointly liable for the alleged Labor Code violations.

Employees at their two restaurants regularly worked at least 11.5 hours a day, six or seven days a week, with no meal breaks, according to a Labor Standards Enforcement division news release. The restaurants did not pay minimum wage or overtime, in violation of the law, according to the agency.

The investigation started in June 2012 after an anonymous complaint was filed. It was conducted by state and federal labor regulators and examined employment practices at the restaurants from June 19, 2010, through June 15, 2013.

For more: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20131114/articles/131119756

Leave a comment

Filed under Employment Practices Liability, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Theft

Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: California Restaurants In “Well-Known Tourist Areas” Investigated By U.S. Dept. Of Labor Agree To Pay $670,000 In “Unpaid Minimum Wages And Overtime”

“…(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 Hospitality Industry Wage and Hour Litigationadversely 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

Leave a comment

Filed under Employment Practices Liability, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Colorado-Based Restaurant Group Will Defend Itself Against Class-Action Lawsuit Alleging Overtime Violations; Company Maintains That Managerial Salaried Employees Are “Apprentices”

“…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

1 Comment

Filed under Employment Practices Liability, Insurance, Labor Issues, Management And Ownership, Training

Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: Labor Department Investigation Forces Massachussetts Restaurants To Repay Employees For Back Wages And Incorrect Overtime

“…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

Leave a comment

Filed under Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Ten Indiana Hotels Named In “Overtime Lawsuit” Involving Housekeepers And Food Service Staff

 “…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

Leave a comment

Filed under Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training

Hotel Industry Employment Risks And Liability: Dept. Of Labor (DOL) Is Increasing Compliance Audits To Look For Violations Of Overtime Rules, Minimum Wage And Federal Wage And Hour Regulations

“. . .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

Leave a comment

Filed under Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Risk Management