The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to focus significant investigative resources on FLSA issues related to the employment relationship, including independent contractor status, joint employment, and the franchise relationship.

Depending on a number of factors, employees of contractors who provide cleaning, back office, kitchen, grounds keeping, housekeeping, parking valet and other services, as well as workers on cleaning crews or servers, bartenders, and hosts who have been brought in by a staffing agency to assist with a one-time event may be employees not only of the third-party, but of the hospitality company as well. Moreover, recent reports from the field indicate that the WHD has been asking detailed questions about the franchise relationship, including purchase price, financing terms, and franchising agreements.

Employers in the hospitality industry should take time to ensure that the individuals performing work at their facilities are properly classified under the FLSA. With the WHD also seeking to expand local investigations into corporate-wide enforcement actions, FLSA compliance is at a premium. Seyfarth has recently started having a series of webinars on the status of independent contractors ad what steps employer can take to limit their legal risks. Click here to listen to the webinar. Click here for corresponding materials.