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Employees short-changed: Wage and hour claim filed against resort

Wage theft in the restaurant industry continues to a problem in Colorado and elsewhere, even though it is unlawful. It is the responsibility of an employer to pay workers fairly and in accordance with the law, but some individuals are still short-changed. A resort in another state stands accused by a former employee of not paying him properly. He filed a wage and hour claim against the company to seek justice for himself and for similarly affected workers.

The plaintiff claims 20 years of experience as a waiter in fine dining establishment. The waiter asserts he was only making $3.25 per hour performing duties that would not result in him getting tips as well as starting work early and staying past the end of his shift. If employees are performing duties in which they do not get paid tips, they must be paid the full minimum wage during that time.

The waiter was allegedly not the only worker affected by the claimed wage theft. The plaintiff asserts the resort took advantage of the fact that many of the other employees were going to be short-term and younger, so they were easier to intimidate than long-term employees. Since the man has spoken up, over 70 past and present employees have joined the lawsuit. Each person may receive a different award -- based upon proof of financial damages -- if the case is successful, but it could equate to a few thousand dollars per plaintiff.

The plaintiff hopes that his wage and hour claim will help in taking a stand against restaurant wage theft. The affected workers are seeking an award to cover the difference between what the minimum wage is and what they were actually paid. They also seek liquidated damages, meaning that the award for each person is doubled to penalize the resort. In the restaurant industry, whether in Colorado or another state, it can be easy to lose track of what workers should be paid based on tipped and non-tipped duties and hours worked. Employees who claim that they are being paid incorrectly have every right to pursue legal recourse for the amounts that they believe are due and owing.

Source: counton2.com, "More than 70 employees suing Wild Dunes Resort", Mayci McLeod, Jan. 28, 2016

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