Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Veer Investments LLC of Charlotte, doing business as America's Best Value Inn & Suites, has agreed to pay 34 employees $37,394 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions.
Investigators discovered that the employer had made unlawful deductions from employees' pay as a disciplinary action, failed to pay workers for three days of required training and paid "straight time" rates for overtime hours – in cash and "off the books" – rather than time-and-one-half employees' regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 hours in a week as required. Additionally, the employer paid housekeepers a piece-rate wage of $3 per room and failed to ensure that their pay equaled at least the federal minimum wage per hour. Finally, the employer failed to keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid, in violation of the record-keeping provisions of the FLSA.
"Employers are required to pay employees for all hours worked, including training and overtime," said Maxine Mills, assistant district director of the division's Charlotte Area Office. "Workers in the hotel industry are among the most vulnerable in this country, and the Labor Department will not tolerate their exploitation. This case should serve as a notice to other employers who may not be paying their employees in accordance with the law."
The employer has agreed to comply with the FLSA in the future, correct all issues identified by this investigation and pay the back wages owed in full.
The FLSA requires that covered 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. In general, "hours worked" includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer's premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.
The department has a Smartphone application to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users can track regular work hours, break times and any overtime hours for one or more employers. This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers' records, workers now can keep their own records. This and other Labor Department apps are available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/apps.
The division's Charlotte office can be reached at 704-749-3360. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws also is available by calling the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) and at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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