Florida Resort Company Owes Back Pay To Employees Who Were Unlawfully Employed


Panama Beach City, FL (WorkerscCmpensation.com)-A company based in Panama City Beach, Fla., will have to pay $38,513 in back wages to 78 guest workers after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

According to WHD, By The Sea Resorts Inc, violated overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as labor provisions of the H-2B visa program. Authorities said $7,304 in back wages were discovered, while $31,209 in back wages were also found for H-2B violations. The company was also slapped with a civil penalty totaling $12,695, which has been paid. 

By The Sea Resorts Inc. manages restaurants and resorts in the Panama City Beach area. 

Investigators found that the company had hired 117 Jamaican employees to work as housekeepers under the H-2B Visa programs. This program allows the company to hire foreign workers to temporarily come into the U.S. and perform non-agricultural labor or services on a seasonal or peakload basis. 

How the business violated the H-2B provision was by putting those workers in jobs that had not been listed on the temporary employment certification they submitted such as dishwashers, bartenders or front desk personnel yet paying them as if they were housekeepers. 

WHD also uncovered that By The Sea Resorts Inc. was automatically taking deductions from their employees' time for meal breaks even if they even didn't take said breaks.  The deductions led to the FLSA violations when the company was deducting time for breaks their employees were not taking, and this un-recorded and unpaid time had resulted in the employees working over 40 hours in a workweek.

WorkersCompenation.com reached out to a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Labor and they declined to comment on the actual case, but they told us that The Wage and Hour Division did conduct one other investigation on the employees which concluded back on January 1. 2018. By the Sea Resorts Inc. had been no coverage under H-2B in the inquiry and had no FLSA violations.

In a press release Wage and Hour District Director Daniel White stated "Employers seeking H-2B workers must abide by all of the program's requirements, including placing those workers only in occupations listed in their employment certifications. The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to safeguard American jobs and level the playing field for law-abiding employers. We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division by phone, online, or to attend any of our many outreach events for assistance and to learn more about their responsibilities."  


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