The Walt Disney Co. must pay Florida workers $3.8 million in back wages to comply with federal law, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday in a statement.
The back wages will be paid to more than 16,000 employees of the Disney Vacation Club Management Corp., and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc.
The Department of Labor said Disney resorts in Florida deducted a uniform or “costume” expense that caused some employees’ hourly rates to fall below the federal minimum wage.
Tourist Rhys McKay said it was unfortunate that the costumed characters had been penalized monetarily for doing their job.
“You know, they’re always smiling,” he said. “They do such a good job for everyone there and it’d be a shame to see them penalized for wearing the costumes that they have to wear, I take it, coming out of their minimum wage.”
Former theme park worker Matt Powers was glad to see costumed characters being reimbursed for the fees deducted from their paychecks.
“Well, if they’re finally paying the back wages now, it’s about time,” he said. “I guess they deserved it.”
The resorts also didn’t compensate employees performing duties during a preshift period before the designated start of their shifts and during a post-shift period, according a statement.
Disney released a statement on agreement to pay back wages:
“The Department of Labor has identified a group of cast members who may have performed work outside of their scheduled shift and we will be providing a one-time payment to resolve this. We are adjusting our procedures to avoid this in the future.”