March 18 (UPI) — The Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement to pay $3.8 million in back wages to workers at Disney’s Florida resorts.
The U.S. Department of Labor said Disney will pay back wages to 16,339 employees of the Disney Vacation Club Management Corp. and Walt Disney Parks Resorts U.S. Inc in Lake Buena Vista after it found violations of minimum wage, overtime and record keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Department of Labor found that Disney deducted a uniform expense that caused some of its employees hourly rates to fall below the minimum wage.
Daniel White, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Jacksonville, said the violations were “not uncommon” and that Disney was “very cooperative” during the investigation.
“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,” he said. “The Disney resorts were very cooperative throughout the investigative process and worked with the division to ensure employees received the pay they earned.”
Some workers were also routinely not paid for performing work duties 15 minutes before and after their dedicated shifts and the resorts also failed to maintain required time and payroll records.
“The Department of Labor has identified a group of cast members who may have performed work outside of their scheduled shift, and we will be providing a one-time payment to resolve this. We are adjusting our procedures to avoid this in the future,” Disney said in a statement.
More than 700 employees who worked at the Old Key West Resort from Nov. 2013 forward will be covered in the agreement along with 15,000 employees who worked at other Florida resorts since January 2015.
Disney will provide back pay by July 31 and in compliance with the agreement will increase training of managers about what constitutes “compensable work time,” including tasks like signing out keys and logging onto computers.