Loudoun Times Mirror recently published an article on labor violations found at Brambleton pools and other Loudoun County pools. Brambleton’s pool management contractor, Crystal Aquatics, was the focus of a complaint-driven labor audit this past summer that resulted in several minor violations with associated fines from the VA Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI). The DOLI audit, which took place on July 12, 2016, covered a period between May 28th and July 22nd. The nature of the violations centered on recordation of breaks, improper storage of shift records, and hours worked by minors between the ages of 15 and 17. Crystal Aquatics fully cooperated with DOLI, took immediate action to address the violations, and paid all related fines this past summer. Brambleton considered the matter closed.
As a result, Crystal Aquatics has become more vigilant with enforcing its company policies and has instituted additional oversight to prevent future labor law violations to ensure that moving forward, these violations do not occur again. Steps taken are as follows:
- The Company has policies in place that restrict employees from working over the allowed labor law maximums. Post-audit, Crystal Aquatics put additional resources into making sure that lifeguards did not work outside of the allowable hours.
- Every pool received a binder outlining all Virginia Child Labor Laws. The binder includes all applicable employment certificates as well as detailed sign-in sheets that can properly document lunch breaks.
- Crystal Aquatics re-educated all of their supervisors and managers on Virginia Child Labor Laws.
- Supervisors are now required to check the schedule and payroll every day for any potential violations.
- For 2017, Crystal Aquatics is moving to an automated payroll system with geo-fencing. This will allow their administrative team and principal officers to monitor all employee hours remotely in real time. The new system will also allow employees to upload all of their employment certificates so we will have an electronic backup.
Brambleton takes this matter very seriously. We issued the following comment to the Times Mirror, of which they chose to print only a portion:
"Brambleton Community Association requires all of its contractors to comply with all federal and state laws, and local ordinances and regulations. The Association carefully reviews the qualifications of its service providers. If the Association becomes aware that a contractor is not in full compliance with all relevant laws, ordinances, and regulations, such non-compliance could result in the termination of the relationship between the Association and the contractor. The Association is aware of this notice and will take this into consideration as it reviews pool management companies for potential service at Brambleton next summer."
The summer pool management industry in our region struggles to employ thousands of certified and qualified individuals for the 3-month summer season. As part of the 2017 Budget process, Brambleton included additional enhancements to the pool budgets to allow for additional oversight, recruitment, and retention incentives for guards that work at Brambleton. Those enhancements include:
- Funding for a full-time dedicated pool coordinator to oversee the 4 Brambleton pools
- Increasing the hourly rate for all guards.
- Reimbursing Brambleton guards for their uniforms upon fulfillment of their employment contract at a Brambleton pool.
- Holding free certification classes or reimbursing lifeguard certifications for first-year guards that fulfill their employment contract at a Brambleton pool.
As a team, Brambleton and Crystal Aquatics continue to build, improve, and grow upon its summer aquatics program. We feel that employing neighborhood kids to work at neighborhood pools is a benefit to the community. Our neighborhood kids are essential to the success of our aquatics programs and are treated with a level of professionalism and appreciation. We will continue to work as a team and strive to deliver outstanding service at our pools.