News Brief

Court orders Tennessee hotel operator to pay $76K for not paying employees minimum wage, overtime; endangering minors

Date of action:                       April 6, 2023

Type of action:                      Fair Labor Standards Act consent order and permanent injunction

Names of defendants:           Pigeon Forge Hospitality, LLC

                                                 Nimesh Patel

Resolution: On April 6, 2023, Judge Clifton L. Corker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville issued a consent order and permanent injunction in a case that the U.S. Department of Labor filed against Pigeon Forge Hospitality, LLC and Nimesh Patel, operator of a Comfort Inn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The order requires the hotel operator to pay $27,296 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to six workers.

An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer willfully failed to pay workers at least the federal minimum wage, as well as overtime rates of at least time-and-one-half for hours over 40 in a workweek. Investigators also found that Pigeon Forge Hospitality engaged in oppressive child labor by employing two minors under the age of 12. 

Along with the payment of back wages and liquidated damages, the order permanently enjoins the employer from violating the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA and requires them to:

  • Obtain and implement an electronic timekeeping system in all the businesses they operate.
  • Maintain records of any changes or edits to their electronic time records, and specify the reasons for any changes.
  • Not employ minors in oppressive child labor conditions.

In addition, the court ordered Pigeon Forge Hospitality and owner Nimesh Patel to pay a civil money penalty of $21,658 to address the child labor violations, and the willful and repeat nature of the minimum wage and overtime violations.

Quote: “The court’s order successfully ends our effort to recover the rightfully earned wages of Pigeon Forge Hospitality and Nimesh Patel’s employees and end the employers’ oppressive child labor practices,” said U.S. Department of Labor Regional Solicitor Tremelle Howard in Atlanta. “Employers who willfully violate labor laws at the expense of employees and competitors must understand that we will do everything within our rights to bring them to justice.”

Court:    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville

Docket Number:                    3:23-cv-00020-DCLC-DCP

Office of the Solicitor
April 10, 2023
Release Number
Media Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
Media Contact: Erika Ruthman
Share This