Securing Complete Vindication in WHD Investigation of Hotel Client’s Pay Practices
Epstein Becker Green recently achieved a significant and favorable result for a hotel client. Within days of our client temporarily closing its hotel in the Midwest due to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) notified our client that it was commencing an investigation of the closed hotel’s pay practices. Paul DeCamp (who used to run the WHD) worked with the investigator to narrow substantially the information our client needed to produce, while taking steps to guard against the scope of the investigation broadening to reach any of our client’s more than two dozen other domestic properties. After reviewing time and pay records for hundreds of workers, the WHD wrapped up the investigation in under two months, concluding that our client owed nothing in back wages or penalties.
An investigation at a hospitality establishment resulting in a finding of no minimum wage or overtime violations is exceedingly rare. For an industry already under tremendous pressure due to near-total business disruption caused by COVID-19, investigations such as this one cannot come at a worse time. However, achieving a complete vindication in our case in spite of the challenges created by the pandemic made the outcome all the more satisfying for our client and Epstein Becker Green.