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Friday, August 20, 2010

Transfer Smart News: Timeshare Operator Run Afoul with Labor law

In Orlando, Florida, we typically hear stories about timeshare companies conning owners who are trying to get out of their timeshare contracts. But recently, there’s another twist to such stories which still involved a timeshare company. An operator of a timeshare ran afoul with federal regulators and Florida labor law, and must compensate their so-called off-property consultants of nearly $1 million in lost wages and overtime. The Florida employment issue came to light primarily as the result of a routine labor audit.

The errors impacted more than a thousand employees at Central Florida Investments. This is a timeshare operator which is based in Orlando that does business as Westgate Resorts. According to Westgate, the audit revealed that 1,065 off-property consultants were paid at a rate falling below the federal minimum wage for some of their hours worked. It also revealed that premium compensation paid to workers did not include commissions, and overtime was not properly computed.

As Mark Waltrip, Westgate's chief operating officer said, what they discovered is there was a discrepancy in how they were calculating overtime for certain marketing personnel and it wasn't anything intentional. Meanwhile, there were no criminal charges or fines to be assessed against the company.

On the other hand, Waltrip credited the US Department of Labor (DOL) with helping to bring the discrepancies to light and stressed that the government agency did not find any intentional wrongdoing. However, several timeshare operator's employees have filed lawsuits in an attempt to collect overtime pay they are owed. As a result, the DOL indicates that Westgate will have to correct the errors, extend back payments to those affected and implement new procedures for record-keeping.

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