PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $503,053 in back wages and liquidated damages for 227 workers of a Panama City Beach hotel staffing agency that denied them full wages and benefits when the employer misclassified them as independent contractors.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division found that the misclassification by Touch of Grace Services LLC – which provides hotel workers to several Panama City Beach hotels – led the agency to pay the workers straight-time rates for all hours worked, including hours over 40 in a workweek. In doing so, the staffing agency did not pay the additional half-time rate for overtime as the Fair Labor Standards Act requires.

Investigators also determined that Touch of Grace failed to keep accurate records of the hours worked and correct wages paid to some employees.

“Federal labor law includes strict criteria for classifying workers as independent contractors. Misclassified workers are illegally denied their full pay, benefits and legal protections,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida. “We encourage employers to use the resources the Wage and Hour Division offers to understand proper pay practices and avoid the costly consequences of violations.”

Touch of Grace Services LLC provides hotel workers to the Hampton Inn, Springhill Suites, Sheraton Panama City Beach Golf & Spa Resort, and Beachside Resort in Panama City Beach.

Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including misclassification of independent contractors and a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.

Read this news release En Español.

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