U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Federal Court Ordering Owner of Maryland Hotels to Pay $163,590 in Back Wages and Liquidated Damages to 34 Current and Former Employees
EDGEWOOD, md – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has entered a consent judgment ordering hotel owner and manager Akhilbhai Patel to pay $78,575 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 34 current and former employees at two Edgewood, Maryland locations. The Department also assessed Patel a $6,440 civil money penalty due to the willful nature of the violations.
WHD investigators found that Patel – manager of Blissful Enterprises LLC, and manager and owner of ENA Hotels LLC – violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Investigators determined Patel paid some employees flat salaries, without regard to the number of hours that they worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when these employees worked more than 40 hours in a week, yet were not paid overtime. The employer further violated overtime requirements when it paid some workers their straight-time hourly rate, rather than time-and-a-half, for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
"The violations committed by this employer denied workers the wages they were legally due," said Wage and Hour Division Acting District Director John DuMont, in Baltimore. "We offer a wide variety of tools that explain the requirements of the law, and encourage employers in all industries to contact us with any questions about compliance. Our goal is to prevent violations from occurring."
"The U.S. Department of Labor does not hesitate to take appropriate steps to rectify FLSA violations and pursue outcomes that prevent them from recurring," said Regional Solicitor of Labor Oscar L. Hampton III, in Philadelphia.
The Department provides numerous resources and tools to help employers understand their responsibilities and comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
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 Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool for workers who may be owed back wages collected by WHD.