Aspen Has “Unusual” Culture of Not Paying Overtime
"In Aspen, almost no employer was in compliance." Those are the words of Amy Debisschop, Assistant District Director at the US Department of Labor office in Denver, and she's referring to restaurants in the upper Roaring Fork Valley. Debisschop supervises agency investigators who reviewed the books of the Aspen Skiing Company, restaurants, and other businesses.
Investigators caught multiple pay violations. Many companies weren’t paying enough in overtime and other kinds of pay, and restaurants were the worst violators. That's an expensive mistake, since owners now have to give workers back pay and damages, which amounts to double back pay. That's required by federal law; all told, workers will get nearly a million dollars in payments from nearly forty businesses. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher talks with Amy Debisschop, who says she hasn’t seen so many violations in a single town before.
Editor's note: In full disclosure, Alpine Valley Services cleans the offices of Aspen Public Radio. Alpine Valley Services is one of two employers facing a lawsuit by the US Department of Labor for not agreeing to pay backpay and damages to workers after violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.