Cruise line agrees to pay more than $526,000 in back wages due to FLSA violations
Posted February 18, 2012
A cruise line has agreed to pay $526,602 in back wages to 2,059 employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that discovered systemic violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions for employees of the company's cruise ship in Hawaii.
The investigation determined that the cruise line paid employees straight time for mandatory weekly emergency drills, regardless of the number of hours they had worked in the week. Most of the employees typically worked nearly 60 hours per week and should have received pay at time and one-half their regular rates for all hours in excess of 40, including during the drills conducted each Saturday. This single violation accounted for the largest share of the back wage payments owed to the employees.
The investigation also determined that because the employer took large meal and lodging credits, some employees were paid less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Additionally, the employer failed to record and pay housekeeping staff for time spent cleaning cabins between cruises. Further, employees often began work prior to their scheduled shifts, yet these hours of work were neither recorded nor compensated.
Following the investigation, the employer agreed to develop and immediately implement a compliance plan to remedy its pay practices.
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