Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Envy27 LLC, doing business as Motel 6 in Knoxville, has agreed to pay employees $51,967 in overtime back wages after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor identified violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
“A typical violation in the hotel and motel industry is the failure to pay required overtime premiums,” said Nettie Lewis, district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Nashville District Office. “These employees have worked long hours. As a result of our investigation, they are being paid the wages they have earned and now know the benefits and protections of the FMLA. We encourage other hotel and motel employers to learn from this case, review their practices and make a diligent effort to limit future liability by complying with the FLSA and FMLA.”
An investigation conducted by the Division’s Nashville District Office disclosed that employees regularly worked more than 40 hours a week, but were only paid straight-time wages for all hours worked. The FLSA requires that workers be paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay for all overtime hours worked. The employer failed to post required FMLA posters in an area visible to workers and did not provide information about the FMLA in the company’s handbook, in violation of FMLA requirements.
The hotel is a franchise of the Motel 6 brand. Following the investigation, establishment owner Nitinkumar “Nick” Patel agreed to pay all back wages due to the affected employees, pay proper overtime rates when overtime is worked, amend the company handbook to include general notice of the FMLA, display required FMLA posters at all locations, and comply with the FLSA and FMLA going forward.
The Wage and Hour Division has noticed the noncompliance in this industry and is concentrating its resources on investigating and remedying violations, informing workers of their rights and providing compliance assistance to employers. Since 2009, the division has concluded nearly 5,000 cases involving hotel and motel employers, resulting in more than $15.1 million in back wages for more than 28,000 workers nationwide.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 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 employee’s wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.
The FMLA provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave with continuation of health care coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Leave may be taken all at one time or may be taken from time to time. An employer is prohibited from interfering with, restraining or denying the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any FMLA right. Prohibited conduct includes refusing to authorize FMLA leave for an eligible employee.
The Wage and Hour Division’s Nashville District Office can be reached at 615-781-5344. Information on FLSA, FMLA and other federal labor laws is available by calling the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or by visiting http://www.dol.gov/whd.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.