SAN FRANCISCO — The owners of five San Francisco Bay Area care facilities which provide care for the elderly and the ill settled an overtime pay lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) shortly before the New Year. The settlement will provide close to $640,000 to 24 employees working for the five facilities. The settlement amount is split equally between back wages for unpaid overtime and minimum wage and liquidated damages.
The DOL’s Claim
In February 2012, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division initiated a two-year investigation of the five facilities – Laurelwood Care Home, Retirement Plus of San Carlos I & II, and Three Sisters Care Home I & II. The Division’s investigation was targeted around potential Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations. From the investigation, the DOL determined that some of the employees at the care facilities should have received nearly $300 more each week. The additional money would have been needed in order for the employees’ wages to meet minimum wage levels.
The investigation found that some employees, who worked 5 or 6 days a week, were receiving $5 an hour and working up to 11 hours each day. One facility even treated an employee as an independent contractor in its efforts to withhold wages, which would have exempted them from minimum wage and overtime laws. The care facilities failed to keep proper and accurate records of the hours the employees worked. Inaccurate record keeping is also a FLSA violation. This particular violation can make it difficult for employees to calculate how much overtime they worked and provide solid proof of worked overtime hours. But the Court has held that improper record keeping should not prevent employees from continuing and winning claims for overtime.
Salaried Care Facility Employees
The care facility employees were receiving a weekly salary. Their salary was not affected by the number of hours the employees worked, which is typically associated with exempt employees. Receiving a salary does not automatically make an employee exempt from overtime. In fact, the majority of employees receiving a salary, like the care facility employees, are non-exempt. Because they are non-exempt they are entitled to overtime and minimum wage. But by providing only the set salary amount, the care facilities denied their employees both minimum wage and overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week.
If you receive a salaried wage but you believe you have been improperly classified as exempt or your employer has failed to pay you the overtime you have earned, call our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers to discuss your options today at (855) 754-2795. Or our experienced legal team can evaluate your situation when you complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.