The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
recently made major back wage recoveries from two Florida employers for work
performed by hourly employees outside of their regular shifts.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. in Orlando agreed to pay
$433,819 in back wages to 69 employees after a WHD investigation found that
inventory control clerks in the park’s Food and Beverage Department were not
paid for work activities performed before and after their normal shifts. In
addition, they were not paid for working through their mealtimes and when
working from home.
“While Walt Disney has specific rules regarding off-clock
work, an investigation conducted by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour
Division found that managers within the company were not adhering to those
important policies,” said WHD Administrator Nancy Leppink. “It is not enough to
have policies. Management must also ensure that all supervisors are
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered
employees be paid time-and-a-half their regular rates of pay, including
commissions, bonuses, and incentive pay, for hours worked over 40 per week. In
general, “hours worked” includes all time an employee must be on duty, on the
employer’s premises, or at any other prescribed place of work from the
beginning of the first principal activity of the workday to the end of the last
principal work activity of the workday, the Division noted.
WHD also recovered $868,443 in back wages for 1,065 employees
of Central Florida Investments, an Orlando-based company that operates
timeshare resorts in Florida and other states under the name Westgate Resorts.
The investigation, conducted by WHD’s Jacksonville District
Office, determined that employees who scheduled tours of timeshare properties
for the company were not paid at least the federal minimum wage for all the
hours they worked. Additionally, premium pay for the workers did not include
commissions, and overtime work was incorrectly computed. The company also
failed to keep accurate time card records, WHD said.
The company agreed to correct the errors, make back payments,
and institute new recordkeeping procedures to ensure employees are paid
correctly according to federal law.
“Employers should know that when workers are deprived of
their rightful wages, the Labor Department will not hesitate to take action to
recover those wages,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “It’s not just
the right thing to do, it’s the law.”