A & M Hospitality, operator of 70 hotels in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging wage and hour violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to the settlement reported on Law360 (subscription required), the company, which operates under brand names including Sleep Inn, Best Western, and Holiday Inn Express, agreed to pay 96 housekeeping and maintenance employees back wages and damages totaling $50,000.
The Labor Department brought the action after investigating seven hotels in Grand Rapids and Monroe, Michigan, which revealed that housekeepers and maintenance employees were not being paid minimum wage or overtime and that the company failed to keep adequate records of its employees’ work hours.
The owners of A&M, Akram Namou and Hikmat Piromari, claimed that the violations were an oversight, and as part of its settlement agreed to hire a director to oversee compliance with federal and state labor laws. The director will be responsible for training managers and conducting audits to prevent future payroll issues. A&M also agreed to revise its handbook and establish a toll-free number for workers to voice complaints and get help resolving compensation issues.
The Department of Labor filed the lawsuit to protect the hotel workers, who are particularly susceptible to employer abuse because of their entry-level positions and lack of English proficiency.
As reported in a previous post on the Sommers Schwartz blog, violations of minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are frequent among hotels and motels. If you work in the hotel industry and believe you have been the victim of wage and hour theft, please contact the attorneys in our Employment Litigation Group to discuss your situation and right to compensation.