U.S. Department of Labor Lawsuit Seeks Unpaid Wages For 51 Home Health Care Employees
The U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Care at Home LLC, a Connecticut home care agency, to recover unpaid overtime wages, and liquidated damages, for 51 current and former employees.
The lawsuit alleges that Care at Home LLC and its co-owners violated the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when they paid home health care workers the same hourly rate for all hours worked instead of an overtime rate of one and a half, when they worked over 40 hours in a workweek.
In addition, Department of Labor investigators found that Care at Home LLC improperly deducted $33 per day from the employees’ wages for food and housing expenses. The housing deductions created violations because the employer failed to maintain accurate records substantiating the cost of lodging when employees were required to spend the night at a client’s home. The employers also failed to maintain records of food costs. The law limits the deduction employers may make to $10.88 per day absent records substantiating a higher deduction.
The lawsuit also alleges that Care at Home LLC failed to record the times when employees began and ended work, and when clients’ needs interrupted their sleep. If the employee cannot sleep without interruption for 5 hours, the entire sleep period must be considered paid work time.
“An employer’s failure to pay required wages and to maintain complete and accurate records short-changes its employees and puts law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage,” said Michael Felsen, Regional Solicitor of Labor in Boston. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to use appropriate legal resources – including lawsuits, when necessary, to protect employees and to ensure a level playing field for employers.”
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