Disney reaches agreement on pay practices with US Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor and two subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Co. have reached an agreement that will provide $3.8 million in back wages to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Under the agreement, back wages will be paid to 16,339 employees of the Disney Vacation Club Management Corp. and the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc., both in Florida. The department’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions of FLSA.

Disney resorts in Florida deducted a uniform or “costume” expense that caused some employees’ hourly rates to fall below the federal minimum wage, the division said. The resorts also did not compensate employees performing duties during a pre-shift period before the designated start of their shifts, and during a post-shift period. Additionally, the resorts failed to maintain required time and payroll records.

“These violations are not uncommon and are found in other industries, as well,” said Daniel White, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Jacksonville. “Employers cannot make deductions that take workers below the minimum wage and must accurately track and pay for all the hours their employees work, including any time they work before or after their scheduled shifts. We hope the resolution of this case alerts other employers who may be paying employees in a similar manner, so that they too can correct their practices and operate in compliance with the law.”

“The Disney resorts were very cooperative throughout the investigative process and worked with the division to ensure employees received the pay they earned,” White said.

The division is committed to providing companies with the tools they need to understand and comply with the variety of labor laws the division enforces. It offers useful resources ranging from an interactive Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses advisor to a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters. In addition, the division’s Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialists conduct ongoing outreach activities to educate stakeholders, including employers, employees, business and labor groups and professional associations, among others, with accessible, easy-to-understand information about their rights and responsibilities.

For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

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Roger Palmer

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