Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
Owners agree to change employment practices at 4 companies after US Labor Department finds significant wage violations at Michigan hotel
GRAYLING, Mich. — Workers in the hotel industry are hard-working people who greet us with a smile as they welcome us. Many of these workers earn low wages and often struggle to meet basic needs. This challenge is made even more difficult when employers fail to pay them properly for the jobs they perform.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found significant minimum wage and overtime violations at the Ramada Hotel Grayling, operated by Wellston, Michigan-based Satnaam Ji Inc.
The company and its owners, Inderjeet Ubhi and Navtej Singh, resolved the violations by signing a consent judgment entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, Northern Division of Michigan.
The judgment requires payment of $40,000 in back wages and damages to 44 employees at the Ramada Grayling and requires the owners to make changes to its employment practices at all locations, which include another Michigan hotel and two convenience stores. The consent judgment also requires the company to conduct audits of its payroll records to determine compliance, and to provide the reports to the Wage and Hour Division, upon request. Additionally, the judgment requires the employers to provide information on wage laws to all its workers in English and Spanish, and enjoins them from violating the Fair Labor Standards Act in the future.
"Satnaam Ji and its owners have committed to change their corporate culture from top-to-bottom to ensure they are paying workers legally. This will benefit employees at all four of its Michigan businesses and puts money back into workers' pockets," said Mary O'Rourke, area director for the Wage and Hour Division in Grand Rapids. "Rural American workers are vulnerable to unfair labor practices because job opportunities are limited. The Wage and Hour Division will use every tool it has to ensure workers receive the wages they have earned and to level the playing field for employers."
The minimum wage and overtime violations in this case included the following:
- Weekly salaries paid to managers did not meet minimum requirements that would allow the employer to claim an exemption from minimum wage and overtime for these employees. The minimum salary to qualify for exemption is $455 per week.
- Employees entitled to minimum wage and overtime received a weekly salary which, when divided by the number of hours they worked, fell short of the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
- Employees were not paid overtime at time and one-half for work beyond 40 hours in a workweek.
- Accurate records of hours worked and wages paid were not kept for all employees.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
For more information about the FLSA, visit http://www.dol.gov/whd or call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
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Perez v. Satnaam Ji Inc., doing business as Ramada Hotel Grayling, Inderjeet Ubhi and Navtej Singh Civil Action Number: 1:15-cv-13083-TLL-PTM