John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Disneyland bills itself as the happiest place on Earth.

Whether that is actually true is open to debate. What’s clearly the case is that some Disney workers are a bit happier this week. The reason: The Labor Department ruled that the Walt Disney Co. must repay $3.8 million in back wages to employees at its Florida resorts.

The Federales found violations of minimum wage, overtime and record keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. One problem was that Disney deducted a uniform expense. As a result, hourly rates for some employees fell below the minimum wage.

In addition, some workers also were routinely not paid for performing work duties 15 minutes before and after their scheduled shifts.

What does this have to do with your senior living organization? Hopefully, not a thing.

However, if you are having workers put in a bit of unpaid time on the edges of their shifts, or if you are making a deduction similar to a uniform fee that makes hourly rates dip below the minimum wage, this might be a good time to take a hard look at your practices.

There’s no getting around the fact that labor is your largest cost center. And it’s wise to do all you can to limit preventable costs. Just make sure that you don’t engage in practices that cost a pretty penny later on.

That’s just plain Goofy.

John O’Connor is editorial director of McKnight’s Senior Living. Email him at [email protected].