Local business to pay more than $38,000 after Department of Labor investigation

By The Seas Resorts Inc. will have to pay back wages after an investigation by the United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division. (MGN)

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A local company will have to pay more than $38,000 in back wages to 78 people after investigation by the United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.

WHD said By The Sea Resorts Inc., based in Panama City Beach, violated overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and labor provisions of the H-2B visa program.

WHD said $7,304 in back wages were found as a result of FLSA violations, while $31,209 in back wages were found for H-2B violations. They say By The Sea Resorts Inc. also had to pay a penalty of $12,695.

WHD said By The Sea Resorts Inc. manages resorts and restaurants in the Panama City Beach area including Beachbreak, Legacy, Shalimar Retreat Center, Sugar Sands, Chateau, and Ocean Breeze.

Investigators found By The Sea Resorts Inc. hired 117 Jamaican employees to work as housekeepers under the H-2B visa program. WHD said the business violated the H-2B provisions by putting those employees in jobs not listed on the temporary employment certification they submitted, such as front desk personnel, dishwashers, and bartenders, but paying them as housekeepers.

WHD also said By The Sea Resorts Inc. also automatically took time away from the workers' time cards for meals even if they didn't take a break.

"Employers seeking H-2B workers must abide by all of the program's requirements, including placing those workers only in occupations listed in their employment certifications," Wage and Hour District Director Daniel White said. "The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to safeguard American jobs and level the playing field for law-abiding employers. We encourage employers to contact the Wage and Hour Division by phone, online, or to attend any of our many outreach events for assistance and to learn more about their responsibilities."

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