Indian American Hotelier Bharat Patel Pays 180,000 US Dollars to Settle Lawsuit

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WASHINGTON: An Indian-American hotelier has agreed to pay more than USD 180,000 to 200 current and former workers at his 15 hotels in North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota to settle a federal lawsuit against him.

An investigation by the US Department of Labor found that Bharat I Patel failed to pay front-desk clerks, housekeeping staff and other hotel employees overtime and at least the minimum wage, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Following an investigation by the Labor Department, the US District Court of North Dakota entered a consent judgment ordering Patel to pay back wages and liquidated damages to resolve a lawsuit in this regard.

“Restoring these earned wages will make a meaningful difference in the quality of life for these workers and their families. All employees deserve fair compensation for hard work,” he said.

Mr Patel violated the law by paying hourly employees straight-time pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek and failed to pay the legally required time and one-half.

Additional overtime violations occurred when he failed to combine hours for employees who worked at two locations in the same workweek.

Investigators also found that Patel incorrectly classified some workers as exempt salaried employees.

This practice resulted in some employees not receiving minimum wage for all hours worked and not being paid overtime.

Additionally, the company failed to maintain accurate records of all hours worked and pay rates.

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