DOL Recovers $865K Owed to 413 Employees for FLSA Violations
July 20, 2022
The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has separately announced its recovery of $865,032 in back pay and liquidated damages for 413 workers after investigators alleged employers in Indiana, Virginia, Ohio, and Texas violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Home healthcare travel time.According to DOL investigators, Sunshine Home Health Care of Indiana owes $126,162 in back wages to the 95 workers it failed to pay in violation of the FLSA. SHAS Inc.—which operates as Sunshine Home Health Care—failed to pay workers for time spent driving between clients’ homes resulting in minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping violations of the FLSA. Investigators say the employer also failed to properly apply overtime rules for salaried employees and maintain accurate records of hours worked.
Preliminary injunction.Heavenly Hands Home Healthcare LLC must stop obstructing the DOL’s investigation into its FLSA compliance pursuant to a preliminary injunction issued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. In response to WHD investigators’ claims that the company denied workers overtime payments and failed to maintain appropriate records of hours worked from at least July 10, 2019, through July 7, 2021, it agreed to pay $413,382 in back wages and liquidated damages to at least 37 employees and comply with the FLSA. It then submitted documents showing timely proof of payment, which the employees purportedly signed. Investigators, however, claim the company falsified the signatures, forged payroll records, and threatened employees to dissuade them from speaking with DOL investigators. On June 1, 2022, the DOL filed a complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order and injunction against Heavenly Hands and its sole owner and operator. The court order prevents the employer from obstructing the DOL investigation, retaliating against employees who cooperate with investigators. and demanding kickbacks of back wages assessed by the WHD.
Consent judgment satisfied.Protection Plus Inc. and employer Raymond Stanley havepaid$185,459 in wages and liquidated damages to the DOL for distribution to 215 security professionals as required by a June 7, 2022, consent judgment for FLSA violations. Similar violations by the Indianapolis company were found in 2018, and the employer paid $69,540 in civil penalties for knowingly violating federal wage laws since the DOL filed its May 2022 complaint. WHD investigators discovered the employer did not pay overtime to the security professionals who patrol Indianapolis International Airport’s grounds and provide guarding and traffic services to the surrounding area. When the employer did pay overtime, it failed to accurately compute overtime due when employees received two or more rates of pay for different jobs performed in the same work week and failed to maintain accurate payroll records in violation of the FLSA. The agency cited the employer for similar violations in 2018 requiring it to pay $98,949 in overtime back wages and liquidated damages to 158 employees and $25,000 in civil money penalties. According to the agency, the employer has since failed to change its pay practices.
Misclassification.WHD investigators recovered $133,661in back wages for 63 home healthcare workers in Ohio after concluding the employer, Reliable Home Health Care LLC, and its owner, misclassified them in violation of the FLSA. According to investigators, the employer and its owner misclassified office staff and home health aides as independent contractors then paid them straight time hours when it should have paid overtime rates for hours over 40 in a workweek. The division’s investigation also disclosed the firm falsified their payroll records in an attempt to hide their violations.
Minors underpaid, exposed to hazard.The DOL found Maw’s CPS Sa LLC, operating as Charley’s Philly Steaks in San Angelo, Texas, violated the FLSA overtime provisions prompting recovery of $3,184 in back wages and $3,184 in liquidated damages for three employees. The agency also assessed the employer with $3,786 in civil penalties for the violations. According to investigators, the employer instructed the workers to clock out after the regular closing time but made them continue working; allowed five minors to work more hours and later times than permitted by law; and allowed one minor to use a deep fryer in violation of child labor prohibited occupations.