Hotel Workers File Lawsuit Against Hotel Staffing Company for Wage and Hour Violations
January 30, 2012
Vincent Howard frequently discusses the topic of wage and hour violations in the hospitality industry in our Riverside employment lawyers blog--a workplace epidemic where employers in low wage industries, such as the hospitality industry, often violate the rights of vulnerable employees.
In recent news that Mr. Howard has been following, a group of fourteen Indianapolis hotel workers have filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against ten hotel staffing agencies--claiming that they were purposely robbed of their right to fair compensation.
The workers are reportedly primarily Hispanic immigrants, who were employed by Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS), a work agency providing temporary and low-wage workers to hotels like Marriott, Western, Embassy Suites, and other hotels across the country. Many of the workers were employed as housekeepers, bussers, and dishwashers, and claim in the lawsuit that they were forced to work off the clock hours, and forced to work through their unpaid rest and meal breaks--which often times pushed their earnings to well below the federal minimum wage, $7.25.
The outsourcing of work by the staffing companies has reportedly led to a two-tier class system within the hotels, as low-wage and lesser paid workers from HSS suffer, while working next to direct hotel hires, who are better compensated for the same work. Many HSS employees claim that compensation did not properly reflect the hours that they actually worked--and if they did not complete their work in the scheduled time, they would be threatened with job termination.
One of the workers in the wage and hour lawsuit claims that she earned minimum wage working for Indianapolis hotels, but was required to start work two hours early in order complete her required number of rooms for the day--without receiving any overtime payment for the extra work time. Another worker claimed she was often forced to come early, to work through her meal breaks, or to clock out at the right time even if her work wasn't finished--to avoid being punished for not completing her workload within an eight-hour period. Another worker claimed that he worked for minimum wage as a dishwasher, regularly working 40-hour weeks, but was only paid for 35 hours.
Many workers claim that their workload has increased in recent years, while their wages have either remained the same or gone down--because a hotel can save money by switching to an outsourcing company, as it no longer has to provide costly worker benefits like health insurance. According to hotel workers union, UNITE HERE, outsourcing might lower cost for the hotels, but could cost the city and state, that ends up providing tax-payer health care that many workers from the agency end up using for their families.
The workers also claim that the HSS outsourcing company is based on the principle that they improve service while cutting costs, by providing low-wage workers for the hospitality industry. The company has been sued before, and has also been recently criticized for running an hotel trade publication advertisement with the image of tiny workers stacked inside a vending machine--as being readily available for cheap purchase.
In correlation with filing the lawsuit, the employees also staged a protest outside HSS's offices earlier this month. The class action wage and hour lawsuit could involve over one thousand workers, and is reported to have the potential for around ten million dollars in monetary claims and back pay.
The hotels named in the lawsuit include Holiday Inn, Marriott, the Canterbury Hotel, the Conrad, Embassy Suites, Hyatt, Omni and the Westin Hotel.
Throughout Orange County, California, contact Vincent Howard at Howard Law, PC today.
Hotel Workers Say They're Being Shorted, The Indy Channel, January 9, 2012
Hotel Workers Stiffed Millions in Wages, Lawsuit Alleges, January 9, 2012
Workers sue 10 hotels, allege wage violations, The Indianapolis Business Journal, January 9, 2012
Related Web Resources:
Warehouse Workers File Another Wage Theft Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart Staffing Agencies, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 8, 2011
CA Labor Commissioner Fines Warehouse Staffing Firms for Alleged Labor Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 21, 2011
Riverside Warehouse Investigated by CA Labor Officials, Sued by Workers for Wage Theft, Abusive Conditions, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 16, 2011
DOL Forces Wok King Restaurant to Pay $531K in Wage and Hour Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, October 10, 2011
DOL Continues to Track Down Federal Wage and Hour Law Violations in the Workplace, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 8, 2011
Hospitality Industry Continues to Violate Workers' Wage and Hour Rights, California Employment Lawyers Blog, April 18, 2011
Feds Crack Down on Wage and Hour Violations in NY Restaurants, California Employment Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2011
DOL Wage and Hour Division Audits for Low Wage Industry Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 20, 2010
New Study Reveals More Abuse of Low-wage Workers in Los Angeles, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 11, 2010