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Lawsuit says Pigeon Forge hotel repeatedly did not pay employees and hired children

The lawsuit claims that a hotel in Pigeon Forge repeatedly did not pay its employees and hired children. It said two of them were under 12 years old.
Credit: Zolnierek

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — A lawsuit filed on Jan. 17 claims that a hotel company in Pigeon Forge violated several labor laws. 

The lawsuit names Pigeon Forge Hospitality, LLC and Nimesh Patel. In a release from the U.S. Department of Labor, they said Patel operates the LCC and is an employer at a hotel in Pigeon Forge. The company has the same address on Teaster Lane as the Comfort Suites Mountain Mile Area in Pigeon Forge, according to the business record from the Tennessee Secretary of State's office.

The lawsuit said Patel and the company repeatedly failed to pay its employees since at least June 2019. It also said they made employees work longer than 40 hours per week without paying overtime for it, and they did not keep up adequate and accurate records of people employed in the company.

Since March 2021, they said the company employed children as well, with two minors under 12 years old. They also said they employed a 15-year-old and made them work in "non-excepted baking and cooking activities," which they said was particularly hazardous for minors.

The lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Department of Labor and they said the company owed wages to six employees. They asked for the company to pay back wages to its employees as well as an additional amount for damages.

WBIR reached out to the company for comment on the lawsuit. Neither a representative of the company nor Patel responded by Wednesday evening.

Editor's Note: State records on the LLC's address shows the hotel's name is currently "Comfort Suites Mountain Mile Area."  In its release, the Department of Labor lists the hotel's name as "Comfort Inn and Suites in Pigeon Forge," which is a different hotel that's not affiliated with the LLC.

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