Hyatt Faces Unpaid Overtime and Tips Class Action Lawsuit

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Philadelphia, PA: Hyatt Hotels is facing an unpaid wages and overtime class action lawsuit alleging the global hotel chain fails to properly pay its banquet servers their tips and withholds overtime pay.

Filed by Nancy Livi, the complaint is brought on behalf of current and former employees of Hyatt-branded hotels in Pennsylvania. Specifically, the complaint alleges Hyatt Hotels Corp. and its affiliates illegally diverts severs tips and refuses to pay overtime when certain employees have worked in excess of 40 hours per work week.

These actions, the lawsuit asserts, violate various laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act. The plaintiffs claims they have been seriously harmed by the company' actions.

According to the lawsuit, customers who use the hotel for the special events at which banquet servers work are charged a set fee in addition to the charges for their events. These fees are regularly used to pay banquet servers a tip, forming part of their compensation. That fee, which is referred to as both a gratuity fee and service charge in the complaint, is divided amongst the banquet servers, with a portion of the fee being kept by the hotel, for the hotel.

The complaint alleges that Hyatt has refused to divulge information related to how much of the fee it keeps, despite requests by employees for information regarding the pay practices and lack of transparency.

According to the suit, the negligible amount of gratuity banquet servers receive is not enough to be considered a tip for purposes of complying with the FLSA' minimum wage provisions. In addition, the suit alleges that Hyatt, in its Pennsylvania hotels at least, has refused to pay overtime, even when banquet servers have worked over 40 hours in a week. "Defendants have been aware of the hours worked by the class members but have failed to pay the class members the full amount of wages to which they are entitled for this work time,"the complaint states.

The suit seeks class certification, as well as to recover unpaid tips and overtime wages, plus all available relief. According to the complaint, the class likely contains at least 40 members. Livi is represented by Marc A. Goldich of Sheller PC and Noah Axler and Michael D. Donovan of Donovan Axler LLC.

Nanyc Livi, et al v. Hyatt Hotels Corp., et al, case number 2:15-cv-05371 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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