Marriott International, Inc. and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC have been named in a proposed class and collective action filed by a former employee who claims he and other service workers were denied proper wages.
The 36-page lawsuit out of New York claims the defendants adopted a policy and practice of failing to remit service charge payments intended as wages to servers, waiters, bartenders, room service attendants, banquet workers and other non-managerial service personnel who were employed by the hotel and resort operators. According to the lawsuit, the defendants’ customers must pay a mandatory 18-percent “service charge” for in-room dining services, plus a $5 “delivery fee.” The suit alleges, however, that although the charges are represented as gratuities to be paid to service workers, the defendants retain a portion of the fees and/or remit some of the money to non-service workers.
The hotel chain’s conduct, the case argues, violates federal and New York labor laws, which specify that service staff are entitled to the full amount of customer gratuities.
The lawsuit further alleges that the defendants have failed to pay service workers for off-the-clock work performed outside of their scheduled shifts. According to the case, workers are often required to clean, restock supplies, set up their workstations, and perform “various other tasks” before clocking in for their shifts or after clocking out. The suit claims the defendants are well aware that employees perform work outside of their scheduled hours and even go so far as to block staff from clocking in early.
“If a worker attempts to clock in before their scheduled start time, the timekeeping system will not register such an attempt as valid unless a manager or supervisor overrides the system,” the complaint explains, adding that employees are not paid for work performed outside their recorded hours.
The plaintiff, who worked as an in-room dining server and banquet server at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, claims he and other workers frequently put in more than 40 hours per week for which they did not receive proper overtime pay due to the defendants’ failure to properly track their work hours.
The case looks to cover current and former hourly-paid, non-exempt employees—including but not limited to “servers, food servers, beverage servers, in-room dining servers, banquet servers, or other employees with similar job duties”—who were employed by the defendants within the past three years, as well as those who were employed in New York within the past six years.