Lawsuit alleges hotel owners violated Illinois wage laws
Four owners of a Welcome Inn located in Illinois are being sued for allegations of violating that state’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Plaintiffs April R. Brasher and Richard M. Orencia, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated as collective representative under and/or as members of the Collective as permitted under the Fair Labor Standards Act, filed a lawsuit against Quincy Property LLC, doing business as “Welcome Inn” and Welcome Inn Hotel Management, Inc. and Brett Burge, Kenneth Logan, Quentin Kearney and Joe Wimberly as individuals under FLSA and Illinois Wage Laws.
Court documents allege that the plaintiffs are seeking unpaid overtime, monetary damages, declaratory and injunctive relief and other equitable and ancillary relief, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The plaintiffs allege individually and on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated current, former and future misclassified “salaried” employees of the defendant that they, under both federal and state wage laws, were/are misclassified due to the misclassified employees lacking “Exempt” duties and/or the “Exempt” duties (if any) are overwhelmed by the non-exempt duties and/or loss of exemption due to deductions from salaries of the employees.
Brasher also brought a claim of wage retaliation, as her termination was the direct result of her complaining about the illegal wage deduction and/or overtime wages defendants threatened to impose on her, which is illegal to terminate an employee on those complaints under FLSA, IMWL and IWPCA.
Quincy Property has a policy and procedure of classifying many (most) its employees as being “salaried” despite those most of those employees1 having few or no actual “salaried” work duties, the complaint alleges.
It continues, “Plaintiffs plead claims that they and collective members were and are misclassified as “Salaried” and Exempt because Defendants failed to maintain the proper balance of actual work duties/work time in the Primary Duties test. Thus Plaintiffs are entitled to be paid for all hours worked and to receive minimum wage for all hours worked and/or receive time and half for all hours worked over forty (40) hours per week and more specifically Plaintiff alleges that Defendants fail to pay overtime wages and/or minimum wages under the proper rate of pay by failing to pay overtime rate based on the misclassification of employees as salaried employees.”
Logan is the former owner of a Missouri property management company known as Results Property Management. According to records filed with the Missouri Secretary of State, the status is “Inactive-Merged.” Both Logan and Kearney have several active businesses listed in their names individually.
According to the lawsuit, Quincy Property is a corporation which operates a motel/hotel in Quincy Illinois called the “Welcome Inn” located in Quincy, Illinois. Quincy Property is a corporation which operates a number of other motels/hotels totaling at least six separate properties. Welcome Inn Hotel Management, Inc. which operates a number of other motels/hotels totaling at least six separate properties, plaintiff includes these other properties including: Extended Stay Welcome Inn, Holiday, Welcome Inn (Blue Springs MO), Welcome Inn (Benton, Mo), Welcome Inn (Columbia, MO).
Welcome Inn Hotel Management, Inc. is also “Doing Business As” (d/b/a): Extended Stay Welcome Inn, Holiday, Welcome Inn (Blue Springs MO), Welcome Inn (Benton, MO), Welcome Inn (Columbia, Mo). Quincy Properties is a corporation which operates a number of motels/hotels which operate as a single entity, thus the Defendants’ operations exceed sales of $500,000.
Defendant Welcome Inn Hotel Management, Inc. and Quincy Property are joint employers and/or operating under the same management. Brett Burge, Kenneth Logan, Quentin Kearney, and Joe Wimberly are named as defendants pursuant to the FLSA, IMWL and IWPCA as these managers/owners were the ultimate decision makers for the various wage violations and retaliations.
“The Individual defendants were the owners/managers who decided to or approved of the decision to classify housekeepers (and other persons with no exempt job duties) as salaried, to pay a salary less than the USDOL minimum salary allowed, to deduct earned wages from salary and/or hourly wages of employees, and ultimately to threaten employment termination for refusal to take an illegal salary deduction and subsequent termination of Plaintiff Brasher for that wage protest.”
The lawsuit further alleges that the defendant “has an actual practice of making improper deductions from an employee’s salaries and Defendant does not (and did not) reimburse the employee(s) for improper deductions, thus the Defendant loses the exemption status as to that particular employee and subject themselves to liability under the FLSA, including implications with State and Federal overtime requirements.”
It continues, “Further defendant here has an actual practice of improper deductions from employees salary thus the exemption is lost during the time period of the deductions for employees in the same job classification working for the same managers responsible for the improper deductions. The loss of exemption by other salaried employees is supported by the US Department of Labor Fact Sheet 17G which reads in part: ‘Being paid on a “salary basis” means an employee regularly receives a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period on a weekly, or less frequent, basis. The predetermined amount cannot be reduced because of variations in the quality or quantity of the employee’s work. Subject to exceptions listed below, an exempt employee must receive the full salary for any week in which the employee performs any work, regardless of the number of days or hours worked. Exempt employees do not need to be paid for any workweek in which they perform no work. If the employer makes deductions from an employee’s predetermined salary, i.e., because of the operating requirements of the business, that employee is not paid on a “salary basis.” If the employee is ready, willing and able to work, deductions may not be made for time when work is not available.'”
The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount in lost wages and attorney fees. The case is being heard by U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins.