’Tis the season for troubles while luxuriously relaxing and overeating on the high seas. While the rest of the world is still aghast over Carnival Corp.’s Costa Concordia shipwreck off the coast of Italy, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is cracking down on another cruise company a little closer to home.
The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division yesterday announced that Norwegian Cruise Line has agreed to pay $526,602 in back wages to employees on its Pride of America cruise liner in Hawaii. The DOL determined after an investigation, which lasted from July 2009 to November 2011, that Norwegian systemically violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions in regard to the ship’s 2,059 employees.
Norwegian neglected to record and pay housekeeping staff for time spent cleaning passenger cabins between cruises, as well as compensate workers who started before the scheduled shifts began. The cruise line also failed to pay overtime to crew who worked during mandatory weekly emergency drills.
"The investigation determined that Norwegian Cruise Lines paid employees straight time for mandatory weekly emergency drills, regardless of the number of hours they had worked in the week," the DOL said in a release. "Most of the employees typically worked nearly 60 hours per week and should have received pay at time and one-half their regular rates for all hours in excess of 40, including during the emergency drills conducted each Saturday. This single violation accounted for the largest share of the back wage payments owed to the employees."
The DOL added that employees in many jobs on U.S.-flagged vessels that travel in U.S. waters are entitled to federal minimum wage and overtime protections.
Norwegian also has agreed to immediately develop and implement a compliance plan to correct the problem.
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