CWS 3.0: January 18, 2012

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Legal Eagle: Staffing Firm, Clients Hit with $10 Million Suit

A group of hotel workers in Indianapolis, Ind., sued staffing firm Hospitality Staffing Solutions LLC of Atlanta and 10 hotels in the city on Jan. 9 claiming wage and hour violations. Unite Here, a union, reports the potential liability in the case is $10 million in back pay.

The lawsuit claims workers were regularly not paid for all hours worked and were not paid required overtime. Fourteen workers were listed as named plaintiffs in the complaint. The lawsuit seeks class action status.

Hospitality Staffing has contracts with the 10 hotels to provide housekeeping and food service staff, according to the lawsuit. Workers in the suit include housekeepers, banquet servers, cooks, bussers and other food service employees, according to the lawsuit. Hotels at which they work include Embassy Suites Downtown, the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, the Canterbury Hotel, the Westin Indianapolis, the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, JW Marriott Hotel, the Hyatt Place Indianapolis Airport Hotel, The Holiday Inn Select Airport Hotel, the Conrad Indianapolis and the Omni Severin.

The union claims in a press release that hotel workers in Indianapolis are among the lowest paid in the nation with wages starting at $7.25 an hour with few or no benefits.

Staffing Industry Analysts' Legs & Regs Advisor has covered similar lawsuits in the past. End-users of contingent workers need to be sure their staffing providers are in compliance with wage and hour laws. “For federal and state overtime compliance, it is highly probable both the buyers and providers of temporary labor may be held liable for alleged violations,” according the August 2011 issue of Legs & Regs Advisor, which is available to corporate members.  “It is common to see both entities identified as defendants in these type of cases. Alleged violations of federal or state wage and hour laws are rarely covered by business liability or employment insurance. Audit your staffing contracts to determine who has assumed responsibility (if anyone) if a lawsuit is brought alleging wage and hour paypractice violations.”

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