The Walt Disney Co. had a very big weekend, raking in $170 million at U.S. box offices with the nationwide release of its live action fairy tale remake, "Beauty and the Beast."
The numbers perhaps show that the audience for movies these days is families, not young people, who perhaps can no longer afford them, and would who prefer to watch Netflix anyway.
Disney will need $3.8 million of that haul to settle a matter with the U.S. Labor Department. The money will go to 16,339 employees of the Disney Vacation Club Management Corp. and the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc., two Florida-based entities.
The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division hit Disney with alleged violations of minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Employees charged for costumes
According to the complaint, the Disney operations had charged employees for the costumes they were required to wear as part of their jobs. The charge was deducted from their paychecks.
The resorts also allegedly did not provide pay for performances during a pre-shift period before the designated start of their shifts. The performers were also sometimes required to work after their shifts, again allegedly without pay. The government also said the Disney resorts failed to maintain proper payroll records.
“These violations are not uncommon and are found in other industries, as well,” said Daniel White, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Jacksonville. Fla.
White says employers may not make deductions from employees paychecks that take them below the minimum wage for the work they perform. Also, time on the job must be carefully tracked, including time before and after official shifts.
The Labor Department said Disney resorts cooperated with the investigation and "worked with the division to ensure employees received the pay they earned.”