Monday, January 9, 2012

Mexican Immigrant Indianapolis Hotel Workers File Wage & Hour Class Action Suit

More than a dozen ow-level hotel workers in Indianapolis have filed a class-action lawsuit against ten of the city's hotels and a labor staffing agency, claiming they were routinely cheated out of pay with the knowledge of hotel management.  The workers claim they had to work while off-the-clock and during unpaid breaks which often put them below the minimum wage rate of $7.25/hour.  The suit is potentially only the tip of the iceberg in a widespread problem in the workplace and could potentially involve more than a thousand workers and millions of dollars in claims, according to the hotel workers union UNITE HERE, which is organizing workers in Indianapolis.

From The Huffington Post article on the lawsuit:

The Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS)-staffed hotels named in the Indianapolis lawsuit include Embassy Suites, Marriott, Westin, Hyatt, Holiday Inn and Omni properties.
Martha Gonzalez, 28, one of the workers now suing, tells HuffPost she worked at Hyatt and Marriott properties as an HSS employee earning the minimum wage. She says that she was required to come in early and prepare her housekeeping cart before punching in, and that she often wound up working through her lunch break or clocking out to finish work at the end of the day, to avoid being punished. She says she quit last summer.
"I was sick of getting a check that didn’t meet my family's needs," Gonzalez, who's from Mexico, says through a translator. "Every check was just too small. I was so tired of working in a place under pressure, getting calls from the manager, 'Are you finished? Are you finished?'"
This is a huge, huge problem as a lot of immigrants are fearful of losing their jobs and concerned about immigration issues which prompts employers to take advantage of their immigrant employees.   However, immigrant employees should not be worried as they have rights in this country even if they are here unlawfully or not yet through the immigration process.  An unlawful immigration status does not allow rights to be circumvented and immigrant employees who believe they are not being paid properly are encouraged to contact attorneys who practice wage & hour law.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to say that I hope that they win. I have worked in this idustry for 13 years between hotels and restaurants and the labor laws need to be revised for the owners that feel they are able to take full advantage of us. I work in Louisville KY at a hotel for a small check. If I need to order a pizza beacuse I am forced to work without a break and do most of my managers job in his absence, it takes over 1 hours pay in order to eat. I am not allowed to leave for a break...get in trouble for going to smoke since I am not at the desk at that time which violates thhe 30 minute + 2 10 minute breaks required for other employees in the U.S. I mean, the revision must include 24 hour retail, hotel, motel, and restaurant employees that are currently not protected. Under the federal labor laws currently in place, if an owner chooses not to pay overtime or give break periods, he or she is within her rights according to the labor board. It is a travesty. If the service industry shut down because everyone united and went on strike, what would the big wig owners plus the lawmakers that spend our hard earned tax money to take these trips and eat out at these restaurants do?