Hyatt employees have been notified about a class-action lawsuit that concerns remote-based employees.
Like many companies, Hyatt utilizes technology to make remote work possible for their staff. This saves the company money on expensive overhead while allowing employees to move away from Hyatt employment bases or avoiding the commute into the office. It makes sense that Hyatt would offer this to as many of their workers as possible on the reservations, customer support and administration side of the business. This particular suit does not appear to affect other employees from the rest of the business.
A former Hyatt employee forwarded me a copy of the letter they received offering a place in the class-action suit against Hyatt. The lawsuit, filed in North Carolina, alleges that Hyatt failed to properly pay their employees for hours worked and required activities in addition to a normal 40 hour work week. As the employees in question were hourly-based, this violates state and federal statutes. The form sent along with the notice reads as follows:
“I state that I worked on an hourly basis as a Remote Associate for Hyatt Corporation in the United States at some point after January 11, 2015 and during part of that time was required by Hyatt Corporation to perform work for which I was not compensated and/or was required to work in excess of 40 hours per week without receiving overtime compensation for the same. I hereby consent to sue Hyatt Corporation for claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and described in the Notice I received and I agree to be bound by any judgement or settlement reach in this case. I hereby designate Kreis, Enerle, Hudgins & Borsos, P.C. and Sommers Schwartz, P.C. to represent me in this action.”
There is a deadline to join the class for affected parties by April 2, 2018 and if you think you might qualify, email RemoteLawsuit@simpluris.com
How Does This Happen?
Salaried employees are one thing, feel free to pile on extra hours, emails returned from home, whatever the business likes (I should know). Hourly employees are something quite different. Paying an employee only for when they are working means that they are not expected to work when they are not on the clock. It would be easy to see how hourly arrangements could slide, for example, Hyatt Concierge employees are hourly. I always thought that the Hyatt Concierge team should be salaried and allow for “office hours” but still return emails or forward on requests outside of office hours, I wouldn’t have thought that would be such a large ask as Virtual Assistants do the same.
The employee that sent this to me was customer phone support but instead of operating out of their call centers was home-based. While this representative wasn’t sure of what specifically sparked the lawsuit, it didn’t surprise them that someone had filed against the company. It reminded me of Apple employees that sued the company over questionable break policies and final paychecks. I don’t think anyone can blame employees for wanting to get paid for time they are working and everyone needs a break from time to time.
Do you think this is a case of Hyatt behaving badly or employees misunderstanding required activities vs. optional? Somewhere in between?