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The Scoop

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Hotel workers awarded back pay after federal probe

Verbatim statement issued Wednesday, which includes back wages for hotels in Bluffton, Huntington and Wabash:

WAUSEON, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $18,792 in back wages for 96 current and former workers at 16 hotels operated by Wauseon-based Sunrise Hospitality Inc. in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania, following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found the chain had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay its employees minimum wage and overtime compensation for all hours of their work. The company also violated the act’s record-keeping provisions by failing to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages and work hours.

“One of the most common violations in the hospitality industry is the failure of employers to properly record and compensate employees for all hours worked,” said George Victory, director of the division’s district office in Columbus. “The Wage and Hour Division has stepped up its enforcement efforts to identify, target and remedy wage violations that deprive workers of the full and fair compensation guaranteed to them by law.”

The investigation found that Sunrise Hospitality violated the FLSA by failing to pay employees for pre- and post-shift work, and for deducting breaks of less than 20 minutes from hours worked. In addition, the employees were not paid proper overtime compensation because the employer paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay after 80 hours worked in a two-week period, rather than after 40 hours in a workweek. Further, the company failed to maintain proper wage records by not recording required pre- and post-shift work in the total hours calculated.

Sunrise Hospitality has paid back wages to workers at the following hotels in Ohio: 20 workers at the Hampton Inn in Fremont; 18 workers at the Holiday Inn Express in Defiance; nine workers at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Mansfield; one worker at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Defiance; two workers at the Holiday Inn Express in Wauseon; 14 workers at the Holiday Inn Express in Napoleon; one worker at the Country Inn and Suites in Lima; and six workers at the Holiday Inn Express in Bucyrus.

In Indiana, the company paid back wages to seven workers at the Holiday Inn Express in Wabash; four at the Hampton Inn and Suites and two at the Comfort Inn, both in Crawfordsville; seven workers at the Holiday Inn Express in Bluffton; and one worker at the Holiday Inn Express in Huntington.

Additionally, back wages were paid to one worker at the Holiday Inn Express, and to two workers at the Hampton Inn and Suites, both in Danville, Ill. One worker from the Hampton Inn and Suites in New Castle, Pa., also received back wages.

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 for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers may make wage deductions for cash register shortages, certain uniforms and food; however, the deductions cannot result in an employee earning less than the minimum wage for all hours worked. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained. For more information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on online at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

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