Over the past several years, the federal Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has focused enforcement efforts on assisted care and related facilities. DOL alleges that some of these employers fail to pay overtime at the required time and one-half rate or simply refuse to pay overtime at all. Given the sometimes extended hours worked by employees at these facilities, DOL has said that these workers are especially vulnerable to abusive pay practices.
Last month, DOL announced the settlement of three lawsuits filed against assisted care or rehabilitation facilities as well as a home health care agency. These employers, located in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, paid between $86,000 and $1 million to resolve the claims. In all three suits, DOL claimed that the employers failed to pay overtime according to federal law.
The plaintiffs’ bar has taken note of these developments, running advertising seeking residential and related care workers for potential class or collective action lawsuits based on overtime violations. Employers in these industries should pay careful attention to the recording of all working time, as well as payment of appropriate wages when those hours exceed federal or state thresholds.