B&C, National Golf Management agree to settle federal wage lawsuit

dwren@thesunnews.comDecember 10, 2013 

— Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. and National Golf Management LLC, which owns or manages about a fourth of the Grand Strand’s golf courses, have agreed to pay $13,500 to settle claims by a former bag drop attendant that the companies violated federal wage laws.

A motion for the settlement was filed Tuesday in federal court in Florence. A judge must approve the settlement before it becomes final.

Alan Dutil, who worked as a bag drop attendant at one of the companies’ golf courses beginning in May 2011, said in a lawsuit filed in September that he was forced to work for $5.80 per hour – less than the $7.25 federal minimum wage – and was refused overtime even though he regularly worked 50 or more hours per week.

Dutil originally sought to include all of the companies’ golf course employees in Horry and Georgetown counties and in Brunswick County, N.C., who allegedly were underpaid by allowing them to opt in to the legal action. However, Dutil agreed to settle the lawsuit before a class of plaintiffs was formed.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, B&C will pay $2,826.65 in wages to Dutil and National Golf Management will pay $173.35 in wages to the former bag drop attendant. The two companies also will pay $9,936.98 for Dutil’s attorney’s fees and another $563.02 for Dutil’s court costs.

In return, Dutil has agreed to drop all of his claims in the legal action. Neither company admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.

Dutil said in his lawsuit that he would have been fired if he refused to work for less than the minimum wage and without overtime pay.

Bag attendants typically transfer customers’ golf bags to carts and help keep the cart staging area near the clubhouse organized. In addition to regular pay, most bag attendants receive gratuities from players.

National Golf Management was formed in 2012 when Burroughs & Chapin Golf Management and Myrtle Beach National Co. merged to become the 15th-largest company of its kind in the country. The joint venture owns 15 courses and manages eight others. Among the courses the company owns are: Pine Lakes Country Club, King’s North at Myrtle Beach National, the Grande Dunes Resort Course and Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club.

In addition to its courses, National Golf Management books about 60 percent of all tee times along the Grand Strand.

Contact DAVID WREN at 626-0281.

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