The owners of two motels in Riverton must pay nearly $190,000 to three employees for federal wage violations, according to federal court records and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Sunil and Parul Patel, owners of a Motel 6 and a Super 8, agreed they violated overtime and minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a news release from the Department of Labor office in Salt Lake City.

"Employers must pay their employees for all the hours they work – including legally required minimum wage and overtime rates and maintain complete and accurate records," said Betty Campbell, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division in Dallas.

"Failing to pay employees as the law requires short-changes them and puts law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage," Campbell said. “We encourage other employers to see this case as an opportunity to evaluate their own pay practices, ensure compliance and understand that providing false information to the U.S. Department of Labor is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

The violations occurred when the Patels paid front desk clerks flat weekly rates that – when divided by the number of hours they were working – resulted in the clerks receiving between $2 and $5.15 per hour. The violations occurred between September 2015 and September 2018, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in July.

They also failed to keep records of the actual hours worked by the clerks and initially produced false records to the Wage and Hour Division. They later admitted to fabricating the records. The division has investigated them four times before.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal approved the consent judgment on Aug. 20 in which the Patels agreed to pay $94,733 in unpaid minimum wages and overtime pay to three front desk clerks, plus an equal additional amount in liquidated damages, for a total of $189,466.

The agreement included an injunction forbidding them from future violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Patels also must pay a civil penalty of $2,179.

If they do not comply, they are subject to legal damages including civil contempt, Freudenthal wrote.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, call 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or visit its website.


More From Wake Up Wyoming