Court holds Hampton Inn operator, general manager in civil contempt for defying consent judgment, demanding worker repay back wages
QUAKERTOWN, PA – A federal court in Pennsylvania has found the general manager of a Quakertown Hampton Inn in civil contempt for violating a February 2023 consent judgment. The contempt order requires the employer to pay $8,750 in back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages and $500 in interest to affected hotel workers, as well as $2,000 to reimburse the department’s investigative and attorney’s fees.
The action follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found Ramket Enterprises paid straight-time wages for all hours worked and failed to keep time records, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In response to a Jan. 24, 2023, complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by the department’s Office of the Solicitor, the court entered a consent judgment on Feb. 1, 2023, and the court ordered Ramket Enterprises and Ketan Joshi to pay $15,137 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 21 employees. They also paid $18,092 in civil money penalties assessed by the division for the willful nature of their violations. The judgment also forbids the employers from future FLSA violations.
After learning that Joshi texted the spouse of an employee due back wages and damages and demanded they repay part of the awarded money, the department filed a motion for civil contempt on April 25, 2023. On June 13, 2023, the court found the employers in contempt and required them to pay the additional back wages, liquidated damages, interest, and fees incurred by the department.
“Our investigation found Ramket Enterprises Inc. and general manager Ketan Joshi violated the terms of an earlier consent judgment and then shockingly demanded an employee kick back their rightfully earned wages. Federal law prohibits wage theft, retaliation or intimidation against workers engaging in a protected activity,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain in Philadelphia.
In addition to paying wages, damages, interest and fees, the court required the employers to post a notice to inform employees that the employers may not seek or accept repayment of any amounts paid under the judgment. Additionally, a division investigator must read a statement in Spanish to all employees that explains the employees’ rights to be free from retaliation and their right to keep the back wages, liquidated damages, and interest awarded to them by the court and distributed by the division.
“The U.S. Department of Labor will not stand by and allow employers to ignore or override their legal obligations. The department will use every tool available, including litigation, to prevent employers from violating workers’ rights,” said Deputy Regional Solicitor of Labor Samantha Thomas in Philadelphia.
The division’s Philadelphia District Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney Andrea Luby with the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia litigated the case.
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including regulations prohibiting retaliation and a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App, now available in English and Spanish for Android and iOS devices, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.
Julie Su, Acting Secretary of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor v. Ramket Enterprises, Inc., dba Hampton Inn, and Ketan Joshi
Civil Action No. 2:23-cv-0286-GAM