Panama City Beach Resort Cheated Jamaican Workers, Say Federal Authorities

Panama City Beach Resort Cheated Jamaican Workers, Say Federal Authorities

According to the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the United States Department of Labor, a resort and restaurant group in Panama City Beach, Florida, has been found to have cheated employees. An investigation by WHO requires By The Sea Resorts Inc. to pay back wages and fines in connection with violating overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards

By The Sea Resorts will pay $38,513 in regard to 78 Jamaican guest workers for violating overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and labor provisions of the H-2B visa program. The firm will pay $7,304 in back wages for the FLSA violations, and $31,209 in back wages for H-2B violations. A civil fine of $12,695 was also imposed on the company.

The federal investigation discovered that By The Sea Resorts Inc., which manages restaurants and resorts in the Panama City Beach area, hired 117 Jamaican employees as housekeepers under the H-2B visa program. The employing group, which operates Beachbreak, Legacy, Shalimar Retreat Center, Sugar Sands, Chateau, and Ocean Breeze, violated the provisions of the visa arrangement by putting the workers in jobs that were not listed on its submission for certification of temporary employment. The unlisted jobs included front-desk staff, dishwashers, and bartenders. By The Sea Resorts paid individuals working in these jobs as if they were working as housekeepers.

The investigation by WHD also found the resort management firm made automatic deductions from the employees’ time for meal breaks whether or not the workers actually took the breaks. The automatic dedications violated FLSA overtime rules, as the employer deducted time for breaks not taken, which resulted in unpaid time, which was also not recorded, that meant the employees worked more than 40 hours per week.

Information and Photo Source: 123RF,  My Panhandler

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