An investigation by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) revealed that lavatory attendants at county fairs in western New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were not only unpaid, but were forced to give 50% of their tips back to their employer, Portlock Maintenance Systems.
The NYSDOL uncovered the violations at the Erie County Fair in New York during a series of summer investigations. Portlock, which is based in Easton, Pa., had an agreement with the Erie County Agricultural Society that explicitly stated, “These attendants will work for tips.”
Workers informed investigators about the illegal tip-sharing arrangement.
The NYSDOL 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.
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