Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
US Labor Department enforcement initiative finds widespread minimum wage and overtime violations in Dallas-area hotel industry
DALLAS — Living on the minimum wage is tough enough when workers are paid for all hours worked and harder still for employees who work off the clock and are not paid fully for their labor. Unpaid wages leave workers and their families to confront difficult choices, like buying medicine for a sick child or purchasing food.
An ongoing U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division enforcement initiative in the Dallas area has found the practice of working off the clock widespread in the hotel industry, where staffing agencies often provide the workers, and labor law violations are rampant. Housekeepers, cooks, maintenance workers, front-desk clerks and event managers are among the 639 employees in the Dallas area and in Abilene who have received more than $180,000 in back wages following the agency initiative.
"We are taking a hard look at the hotel industry where employment practices, such as subcontracting, franchising and third-party management, can put downward pressure on costs — often at the expense of wages," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. "We will continue to use every enforcement tool available to ensure industrywide compliance with the law."
To date, the initiative has included more than 30 investigations of motels, hotels, hotel managing and hotel staffing agencies in Arlington, Dallas, Garland, Grapevine, Irving, Plano and Abilene by the division's Dallas District Office. Fair Labor Standards Act violations included not paying the federal minimum wage and worker overtime; failing to include bonuses and commissions when computing worker's overtime rates of pay; and not keeping accurate records of the hours employees work. Some employees also were illegally misclassified as independent contractors.
The division identified Dallas-based staffing agency S & A Staffing as a major violator. The firm provides workers to clients in the hospitality market, mainly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The company failed to combine hours when employees worked at more than one client during the workweek. This led to employees working beyond 40 hours in a workweek and then failing to receive time and one-half in overtime pay. S & A Staffing paid $113,795 in overtime back wages to 390 employees. SNA Staffing Inc. does business as S & A Staffing.
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. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records. Additionally, under the FLSA, employers must distinguish employees from bona fide independent contractors.
For more information about federal wage laws, or to file a complaint, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Dallas District Office at817-861-2150. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
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