Two downtown Nashville hotels face a federal lawsuit for allegedly paying employees below the minimum wage and denying them overtime pay.
The lawsuit names The Best Western Music Row and the Comfort Inn Downtown.
A group of current and former hotel housekeepers filed the suit against the hotels' owner, real estate investor Rajesh Aggarwal.
Henry Hernandez once worked at the Best Western Music Row and the Comfort Inn Downtown. He was part of the housekeeping staff. Hernandez says he was forced to work long days for very little pay.
"We're making $50 a day for 10 to 14 hours of work at the two hotels," Hernandez said. "In addition to that, this means the hotels are not paying the minimum wage and they're not paying overtime we're looking to change these conditions."
Hernandez says it's also common practice by management by to mistreat employees.He recalls one time when it got physical.
"She pushed me and hit me in the face and nothing was done about it," Hernandez said.
Hernandez finally got fed up and he turned the labor rights group, Workers' Dignity, For Help. Recently he and three others filed a class action lawsuit against the two hotels. According to the lawsuit, housekeepers were paid as little as $3.50 an hour and could work up to 14 hours a day with no break.
"We want Nashville to speak for itself to say this kind of thing is not going to be tolerated in our city," Brenda Perez, with Worker's Dignity said. "Our city that's known for its hospitality, how could these injustices happen at these hotels where we have tourists coming enjoying their stay."
In a statement to Channel 4 Aggarwal's attorney said: "The hotels endeavor to comply with all federal and state laws. At this point, the hotels are investigating the allegations and will respond accordingly. The hotels believe in respecting the rights of all employees and will take the necessary steps to ensure that no violations have occurred or are occurring."
Hernandez says he hopes the lawsuit stops the injustices he and others faced. To bring a spotlight on to their fight, Hernandez along with others plan to protest out front both hotels Sunday afternoon.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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