Aspen Skiing Co. in Aspen has agreed to pay $108,796 in back wages and liquidated damages to 300 employees after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Aspen Skiing Co. is one of the largest employers in this area. It employs thousands of workers and contracts with several local businesses to run this large-scale ski resort. Making sure this resort follows the law is good for its workers and for promoting responsible business practices,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “We are pleased that Aspen Skiing Co. workers will be paid all that is owed them for their hard work, and the company’s customers will know they are doing business with an employer that is committed to treating its workers fairly.”
Aspen Skiing has agreed to comply with the FLSA at all of its locations, including the Aspen-area mountains of Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass. The company committed to specific measures to prevent future violations from occurring. They include updating the company handbook and providing FLSA training to managers; hiring a third party to review and ensure employees who are classified as exempt from overtime pay are properly classified and compensated for all work hours; implementing procedures to accurately track and compensate employees for work performed beyond scheduled work shifts; and promoting FLSA compliance among vendors and contractors with whom Aspen Skiing does business.
The investigation was conducted under an enforcement initiative focused on strengthening compliance in Aspen’s hospitality industry. That industry includes various businesses, such as hotels and restaurants that employ many low-wage workers. The department has historically found significant labor violations in such establishments. In fiscal year 2013, the division’s Denver District Office conducted 45 investigations as part of this initiative, resulting in more than $500,000 in back wages for more than 1,000 workers.
Many labor violations were uncovered among area restaurants. Wage violations found as a result of the initiative include paying restaurant employees straight-time for all hours worked, rather than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week; failing to pay proper overtime premiums to tipped employees and nonexempt salaried employees; making illegal deductions from workers’ pay for uniforms that resulted in minimum wage violations; failing to post required information to inform workers of their rights under the FLSA; and failing to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
We are committed to remedying common FLSA violations among restaurants and other hospitality industry employers in this popular tourist area. We are working hard to inform employers and employees about the law and are also reaching out to stakeholders to promote industrywide compliance,” said Chad Frasier, district director of the division’s Denver District Office.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses, piece-rate earnings and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, the law requires maintenance of accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or the division’s Denver District Office at 720-264-3250. Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.