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What are the laws pertaining to Hotel workers? District of Columbia

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  • What are the laws pertaining to Hotel workers? District of Columbia

    Specifically -Housekeeping.

    My wife is a housekeeper at the ( hotel) in Washington, DC.

    So here is how a typical day goes.

    Firstly, there are fewer cleaning staff due to the economy, so their workload has increased by almost double per person. They are only given 20 minutes to render each assigned room spotless. On average they are given between 15 and 17 rooms per day. Guests can be very sloppy. Especially on the days they checkout. Any given day you might have a lot of checkouts but its usually sundays. On a day with a fair number of checkouts it becomes difficult to impossible to finish all the assigned rooms on time. So (the) hotel requires the housekeepers punch out at thier shifts end,(the shift is 8:30 -5:00), Then go back and finish any rooms they have not finished off the clock. Additionally because the work load is so heavy, many find that they cannot break for lunch(30 minutes) less they fall behind. Despite working through lunch )the) hotel docks them 30 minutes of pay.

    So we have them being docked 30 minutes of pay for lunch even as they are working during thier lunch(ala Walmart).

    And they are told to finish the job off the clock on a regular basis.

    What recourse might these workers have.

    As you might not be suprised to learn. The housekeeping staff are all immigrants.

    On a side note. They were told that new staff have not been hired because management wants to ensure that each employee can work 5 days a week. We know the truth to be that its because the hotel industry has been hit hard by the economy and its expensive to hire more staff.

    Thanks for your attention.
    Last edited by cbg; 11-08-2009, 05:44 PM.

  • #2
    No identifying information, please.

    Any non-exempt worker, which would include housekeepers, must be paid for all the time they actually work. The District of Columbia does not require breaks - however, nowhere in the US may they be docked for a break they do not take. Nor can they be required to work off the clock.

    They can file a complaint with the Department of Employment Services.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Thanks for the quick response. Sorry for the identifying info. Appararently, This hotel has been doing this for years.
      Here is an additional note:

      Appararently it's the supervisor that tells the workers to punch out and then go finish.

      Alternatively if you don't punch out and go over your time, when you finish, they "fix" the time sheets to not pay you for that extra time required to finish.

      Oh and I don't think they are asked to work through lunch. The staff works through because all they know is that they MUST finish on time. So that sounds like workingg under duress to me. So that time worked during lunch is still owed in back pay
      Last edited by pjanak; 11-08-2009, 06:35 PM.


      • #4
        Then the supervisor should be reported to HR. That supervisor is putting the company at risk for wage claims, which is exactly what every affected employee shoudl file.
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