- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Labor is suing a Fargo-based hotel owner for allegedly failing to pay minimum wage and overtime rates in North Dakota and Montana.

The complaint says that Bharat “Brian” Patel owes about $100,000 in back wages and $100,000 in damages to front-desk clerks, housekeeping staff and other hotel employees. The case involves 193 workers at 13 hotels.

Authorities say Patel incorrectly classified some workers as exempt salaried employees. Hourly employees allegedly received straight-time pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek and were not paid the legally required time and one-half.

Patel has hotels in Fargo, Jamestown, Dickinson, Valley City, Wahpeton and Glendive, Montana.

Court documents do not list an attorney for Patel, who could not be reached for comment.

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