Super 8, Ramada shell out $73K for paying housekeepers by the room
- Two hotels will pay $73,732 in back wages and liquidated damages for wage and hour violations, including a compensation system that paid housekeepers per room cleaned, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced.
- Following an investigation, DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) determined that Swami Hospitality Corp. Super 8 Hotel (doing business as Super 8 Hotel) and Swami I Hospitality Corp. Ramada Inn (doing business as Limited Suites) paid their housekeepers based on the number of rooms they cleaned, without regard to the number of hours they actually worked. This created Fair Labor Standards Act violations, WHD said, as the workers' pay didn't amount to minimum wage. The arrangement created overtime violations as well, WHD said.
- Division investigators also found that front desk staff were paid straight time for overtime hours and, in one case, paid an employee only for 40 hours each week regardless of how many additional hours the employee worked.
Employees who don't qualify for any FLSA exemptions must receive at least minimum wage for all hours worked up to 40 in a workweek, and time-and-one-half for hours worked beyond that. (Some state laws provide more generous coverage, too.)
And while many expect WHD's enforcement efforts to be less punitive with the administration change, this case illustrates that liquidated damages are still being used.
DOL offers not only "fact sheets" about the law's different exemptions but is soon launching a program which will allow employers to self-report violations and correct them without incurring additional penalties like liquidated damages. Employment law attorneys, however, have raised various questions about the program and stakeholders are awaiting clarification from DOL on several concerns.