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Workers Settle Wage and Hour Lawsuit with Indianapolis Hotel Staffing Company

December 13, 2012

In a recent Santa Ana, California employment lawyers blog, Vincent Howard discussed a class wage and hour lawsuit filed by fourteen low-wage Indianapolis hotel workers against ten hotel staffing agencies who allegedly robbed the workers of their right to fair pay.

This week, the workers, many of whom were employed as housekeepers, dishwashers and bussers, announced that the lawsuit has settled--claiming that the settlement has changed Indianapolis labor practices for the better in the hotel industry. The settlement agreement amount has not yet been announced.

According to the wage theft lawsuit, many of the jobs in Indianapolis hotels have reportedly been outsourced to staffing firms that don't pay benefits and pay lower wages--which has become a common practice in low-wage industries across the country. This also allows the larger company to shift the legal responsibilities to the outside staffing firms.

The workers in the lawsuit sued Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS), a staffing agency that provides temporary low-wage employment to hotels such as Marriott, Embassy Suites, Omni, Holiday Inn, and others. They claimed in the lawsuit that they were forced to work after-hours with no pay, and forced to work through their unpaid meal and rest breaks--which often pushed their compensation to well below the federal minimum wage.

Unite Here, the union that has been organizing workers in the Indianapolis hotel industry called the lawsuit settlement a major victory and the broadest wage and hour lawsuit in Indianapolis' hospitality industry history.

According to Unite Here, subcontracting has led to the establishment of a two-tier class system within the hotels in the city: one where the hotel employees are paid fair wages, given health benefits and other employee benefits, and one where the outsourced temporary workers who are paid less, and experience no benefits. Unite Here also stated that all of the workers in the lawsuit are Latino, many of whom don't speak English--which made them vulnerable to labor and employment right exploitation.

Many workers in the lawsuit claimed that although their job workload has increased over the years, their wages have either stayed exactly the same or diminished, due to outsourcing. The union also claims that workers who have been employed by subcontractors in the past have difficulty securing direct hotel employment. The workers also claim that the HSS outsourcing company is known for their principle of improving service while cutting costs. In a recent publication advertisement for HSS that received much criticism, tiny workers were shown stacked inside a large vending machine, as being ready for labor at cheap cost.

Vincent Howard regularly discusses the topic of wage theft in workplace--a national workplace epidemic where employers in low wage industries, such as the hospitality industry, engage in wage and hour violations at the expense of vulnerable workers. Contact Howard Law, PC today.

Indianapolis Hotel Workers Settle Lawsuit Over Wage Theft Allegations, Huffington Post, December 12, 2012

Indianapolis hotel workers net settlement in union-backed wage-and-hour lawsuit, Indianapolis Star, December 12, 2012

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

California Department of Industrial Relations, (DIR)

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