U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Federal Court Ordering New York City Hotel Operators to Pay $721,086 in Back Wages and Damages
NEW YORK, NY – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has ordered the operators of three Queens, New York, hotels to pay $360,543 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 83 employees to resolve violations of the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The operators will also pay $28,914 in civil penalties and $625 in post-judgment interest.
The three companies – Exclusive Hospitality LLC, operator of the Quality Inn franchise at 53-05 Queens Boulevard in Woodside; Krishna Hospitality LLC, operator of the Country Inn & Suites franchise at 40-34 Crescent Street in Long Island City; and Sterling Hospitality LLC, operator of the Ramada franchise at 38-30 Crescent Street in Long Island City – jointly employ housekeeping, maintenance, and front desk staff at the three hotels. Owners Kaushik Patel and Chandresh Patel manage the operations of the three locations.
WHD investigators found the employers failed to pay the employees overtime at time-and-one-half their hourly rates when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Most of the employees worked 48 to 60 hours or more per week. The defendants generally paid employees only straight time, at the hourly state minimum wage, for all of the hours that they worked.
WHD alleged the employers designed their pay practices to create the false appearance of compliance with the FLSA, concealed employees’ total hours worked in order to deny them premium pay, failed to make and maintain accurate records, and destroyed other records.
The consent judgment requires the employers to comply with the FLSA and maintain proper records. It also prohibits them from withholding pay, discharging or discriminating against employees in retaliation for asserting their FLSA rights, and requires them to post notices in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Spanish, and Chinese, informing employees of their FLSA rights.
“The willfulness of these violations and actions taken by these employers denied workers the pay that was rightfully and legally due to them,” said David An, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director in New York City. “The defendants’ actions also economically undercut employers that adhere to the rules and pay their workers correctly. We provide numerous tools for employers to explain their responsibilities and show them how to avoid violations.”
“The U.S. Department of Labor does not hesitate to take appropriate steps to rectify FLSA violations and pursue outcomes to prevent them from recurring,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York.
The Division’s New York City District Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney James Wong and Trial Attorney Jason Glick of the Regional Solicitor’s office in New York litigated the case.
Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
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Acosta v. Exclusive Hospitality LLC, Krishna Hospitality LLC, Sterling Hospitality LLC, Kaushik Patel, and Chandresh Patel.
Civil Action Number: 18-cv-2882