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Sheller, P.C.
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Hyatt Sued for Unpaid Overtime and Gratuities

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Sheller, P.C. and Donovan Axler, LLC recently filed a class and collective action against Hyatt Hotels for failure to pay its employees gratuities and overtime wages.  The case was brought on behalf of current and former employees of Hyatt branded hotels in Pennsylvania, which are part of a nationwide chain of luxury hotels and resorts under the trade names Park Hyatt, Andaz Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, and Hyatt Regency.  The chain employs more than 97,000 individuals collectively across several countries.

Specifically, current and former banquet staff seek to recover unpaid gratuities and overtime wages and all available relief pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968 (“PMWA”), 43 P.S. § 333, et seq., Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”), 43 P.S. § 260.1 et seq., and Philadelphia’s Gratuity Protection Bill (“GPB”), Philadelphia Administrative Code, § 9-614.

The lead plaintiff in the case is Nancy Livi of Philadelphia.  Livi dedicated 30 years as a banquet server at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In her suit, Mrs. Livi alleges that “Hyatt hotels in Pennsylvania systematically failed to pay overtime wages and gratuities to their banquet servers by intentionally retaining a portion of the mandatory “gratuity fee” or “service charge.”  This additional charge, included on banquet event customer contracts, is regularly upwards of 21 percent.  Pennsylvania and Philadelphia wage and hour laws dictate that such fees go to employees.  The complaint further alleges that, whenever employees would request information about the gratuities, the Hyatt would refuse to provide any clarification regarding the hotel’s pay practices.  The complaint also alleges that Hyatt violated federal and state law failing to pay its employees the proper amount for overtime work.  Indeed, and to make matters worse, in all her years working at the Bellevue, banquet servers such as Mrs. Livi were never paid for overtime hours worked.  To the extent any banquest staff were ever paid overtime at all, Hyatt is alleged to have paid an improper amount by not counting gratuities as part of the hourly wage in calculating overtime, resulting in less than the required time-and-a-half pay for overtime.

“Federal, state, and local laws protect banquet servers from unlawful pay practices at hotels and in the service industry in general.  We seek to hold employers accountable for violating those laws,” says Marc Goldich, counsel for plaintiff Nancy Livi and the class of former and current banquet servers.

What Should Current and Former Hyatt Employees do now?

To inquire about your rights or to join the class action suit, visit the Sheller, P.C. website or contact Marc Goldich, Esq. or Noah Axler, Esq. toll-free at 800-883-2299, or at mgoldich@sheller.com and naxler@donovanaxler.com.

The case is Nancy Livi v. Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Hyatt Corporation d/b/a Hyatt at the Bellevue, Bellevue, Inc., and Bellevue Associates.

Sofitel Luxury Hotels is also being sued in a class and collection action for similar violations on behalf of current and former banquet employees.