An investigation by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) revealed that restroom attendants at numerous state fairs in western New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were not only unpaid, but were forced to give 50% of their tips to their employer, Easton-based Portlock Maintenance Systems.
The NYSDOL uncovered the violations at the Erie County Fair in New York during a series of summer investigations. Portlock had an agreement with the Erie County Agricultural Society that stated explicitly, “These attendants will work for tips.” In addition, workers informed investigators about the illegal tip-sharing arrangement.
The New York DOL notified Portlock that it was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employees to be paid, for one thing. It is working with the New Jersey DOL and other state labor departments to help current and former Portlock workers recover back wages. Looks like fair grounds for a class-action suit.