January 4, 2017
For immediate release
For more information: Elliott Bronstein, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-684-4507
Seattle Office of Labor Standards orders LSG Sky Chefs to pay $335,033 for minimum wage law violations
The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) found that LSG Sky Chefs violated Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance, and has ordered the company to pay $210,213 in lost wages plus interest to 156 employees and $109,320 in liquidated damages. OLS also levied $15,500 in penalties for first time violations and failure to cooperate with its investigation. The total amount assessed was $335,033.
“This is a significant financial order,” said Dylan Orr, Director of OLS. “Many Sky Chefs workers can expect to receive the equivalent of two weeks’ pay as part of the final settlement, which will make a real difference in their lives. The City of Seattle is committed to holding large employers accountable to our labor standards laws, and ensuring that workers receive all of the money they have earned.”
Under terms of the final order, employees who were denied their full wages will receive shares of the $319,533 ordered based on their hours worked. Some employees will receive as much as $6,976; the mean amount will be approximately $1,936.
OLS also ordered Sky Chefs to pay 1.75 times the unpaid wages to employees for hours worked after January 16, 2016, when the City of Seattle increased the remedies and protections available to workers, including liquidated damages for up to twice the unpaid wages. OLS also assessed an additional $5,000 penalty against the company for impeding the investigation and approximately $100 per employee whose rights were violated on or after January 16, 2016.
The original complaint alleged that Sky Chefs failed to increase wages for its Seattle-based employees once the City’s new Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect on April 1, 2015. OLS ordered the company to respond on April 23, 2015, but Sky Chefs chose to challenge the wage claim by arguing that it was exempt from Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance under a provision of the federal Railway Labor Act. A delay in the investigation resulted when the assigned case investigator went on maternity leave and OLS transferred the case to another investigator; a delay of 2-3 months occurred when Sky Chefs changed its legal counsel. The investigation was further delayed when Sky Chefs released weekly payroll records for 165 employees to OLS investigators in a non-alphabetized stack of 14,000 individual pieces of paper, resulting in investigators’ spending 201 hours to calculate individual employees’ wages, shift differentials and overtime payments over a period of 4 months.
“Employees of Sky Chefs have waited a long time to receive what they’re owed, and I thank them for their patience as we pursued this long, complex investigation,” said Orr.
Public Information Officer
Seattle Office of Labor Standards
810 Third Avenue, Suite 750
Seattle, WA 98104-1627