Hours Worked = Hours Paid

Left to right: Arnulfo Antonio Luna, Jafet Luna Martinez and Demetria Jones

Having a job should be straightforward – you work and then you get paid. But at the Wage and Hour Division, we sometimes uncover illegal schemes employers use to deny workers their rightful wages.

As we celebrate National Hospitality Workers Appreciation Day, it’s crucial to spotlight stories of workers who courageously stood up for their rights in the face of wage theft. 


After initiating an investigation of a Comfort Inn & Suites hotel in a tourist area of Tennessee, we learned that the employer failed to pay several workers the required minimum wage and overtime rates. Our investigator met a father and son who worked together at the hotel, cleaning rooms during the same shifts. However, only one of them received a paycheck.

The information Arnulfo Antonio Luna and his son, Jafet Luna Martinez, shared with us, combined with interviews of other workers and a review of payroll records, revealed that the employer owed more than $54,000 in back wages and damages to six employees. 

Upon learning the investigation’s findings, the employer admitted that he was paying Arnulfo and Jafet as a team. Only Arnulfo received paychecks. As a result of these Fair Labor Standards Act violations, Jafet received more than $30,000 and his father received nearly $1,000 in back wages and damages. 

“I’m very grateful to the Department of Labor for the results of the investigation,” Jafet said. “This money will help my family get ahead.”

When asked what they learned from the investigation, Jafet and his father didn’t hesitate to share advice with other hotel workers who are denied their hard-earned wages.

“I would advise other workers to contact the Wage and Hour Division to assert their rights,” said Jafet.

“Don’t be afraid to report any irregularities at your workplace,” added Arnulfo.


At a Motel 6 in Orlando, housekeeper Demetria Jones wasn’t paid for all the hours she worked. As a result, she was struggling to provide for her family, so she considered starting a second job to make ends meet. 

“My supervisor wasn’t happy that I went for a second job, but I needed more money,” Demetria said.

At the same time, she stood up for her rights and contacted us.

“I called because my boss wasn’t paying me the wages that he was paying others. I worked hard for my money, and everyone deserves to be paid properly,” Demetria added. “I’m glad I spoke up. The investigator believed in me.”

As a result of our investigation, Demetria received over $2,000 in minimum wage and overtime compensation. She needed the money urgently.

“I have cancer and I’m living in a hotel with my kids. I’ve been searching for an apartment, and this will help me pay the upfront fees,” said Demetria. “I’m really happy with the investigation’s outcome. I hope it brings some change for the company, so they don’t do this to anyone else.”

If you or someone one you know is denied wages owed, we encourage you to contact us confidentially at 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243). No matter where you’re from or which language you speak, we’re here to answer your questions and take action if your rights have been violated.

Check out our resort and hotel employment toolkit to learn more about worker rights and employer obligations in the hospitality industry.


Juan Coria is the Southeast regional administrator for the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division. Follow the division on LinkedIn and on X at @WHD_DOL.