Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department seeks to recover back wages, damages for 17 underpaid workers at Chicago O’Hare Garden Hotel
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a complaint in U.S. district court in Chicago seeking to recover back wages and damages for 17 workers at the Chicago O'Hare Garden Hotel. An investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division determined that the hotel; its parent company, A and A Hospitality LLC of Chicago; and owner Anshoo Sethi violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay workers the minimum wage and overtime compensation.
“This employer willfully deprived vulnerable workers of their rightfully earned wages,” said Thomas Gauza, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Chicago District Office. “Employers have a legal obligation to abide by the wage laws of our nation and a moral obligation to treat their workers with common decency.”
The investigation found that the hotel violated the FLSA by paying wages below the federal minimum wage, including paying housekeepers a flat rate of $2 per room cleaned. The housekeeping supervisor and front desk manager were paid a straight salary and were not compensated at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rates for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA. Investigators determined that more than $21,000 in back wages is owed to the 17 workers. Additionally, the department is seeking liquidated damages for the workers, and assessing civil money penalties against the parent company and Sethi.
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 hourly rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The act also requires covered employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records indicating their employees’ identities, work schedules, total hours worked, regular and overtime pay rates, total wages paid and other conditions of employment. All such records are subject to inspection by the Wage and Hour Division and must be made available to investigators upon request.
The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing federal labor laws pertaining to the minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, child labor and special employment, family and medical leave, migrant workers, lie detector tests, worker protections in certain temporary worker programs, and the prevailing wages for government service and construction contracts. Collectively, these labor standards cover most private, state and local government employment. They protect more than 135 million workers in more than 7.3 million establishments throughout the U.S. and its territories. For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.