Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found DoubleTree Hotel in violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions; DoubleTree Hotel Dallas/Richardson has agreed to pay $102,592 in back wages to 112 hotel employees.
The Richardson hotel is a franchise establishment of Hilton Hotels Corp. that is owned and operated by Taraz Kooh LLC. It provides lodging and banquet events services, and also operates a full service restaurant. The violations impacted low-wage employees including dishwashers, bartenders, wait staff, bellmen, housekeepers and maintenance workers.
Investigators found that the employer failed to compensate employees for work allegedly performed “off the clock,” such as tasks performed prior to or beyond scheduled shift periods, which resulted in minimum wage violations. The employer also took wage deductions for lunch breaks whether or not workers took a lunch period, paid “straight time” for all hours worked rather than time and one-half employees’ regular rates for hours worked over 40 in a work, improperly classified nonexempt employees as exempt from overtime compensation, improperly rounded time worked on the clock and failed to include bonuses in employees’ regular rates when computing overtime pay. Additionally, the employer failed to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages and work hours, as required by the FLSA.
Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest said, “People often stay at hotels like the DoubleTree to enjoy great cuisine, hospitality and luxury services, and yet we find that many low-wage workers employed in such hotels are exposed to unjust treatment and wage violations. In this case, we found employees working an average of 86 hours a week without anyovertime pay and sometimes receiving far less than the federal minimum wage. The department is committed to strengthening compliance in the hotel and motel industry in order to protect workers, as well as ensure a level playing field for the many law-abiding employers who pay workers fair wages and cannot afford to be placed at a competitive disadvantage because others break the rules.”
In addition to paying all back wages owed to the affected employees, the company has agreed to maintain future compliance with the FLSA by ensuring that employees are properly classified and compensated for all hours worked.
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 severity of 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. Since 2009, the division has conducted more than 3,800 investigations of hotel and motel employers, resulting in more than $11.6 million in back wages recovered for more than 22,000 workers nationwide.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
Accessible and searchable information on enforcement activities by the Department of Labor is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd. Publicly available enforcement data also are available through the free mobile application “Eat Shop Sleep,” which enables consumers, employees and other members of the public to check if a hotel, restaurant or retail location has been investigated by the Wage and Hour Division, and whether FLSA violations were found. The app is available athttp://www.dol.gov/dol/apps/winners.htm.