On August 5, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced it has settled yet another matter whereby a Golden Valley, MN home healthcare business paid only straight time to its employees regardless of how many hours they worked. In this case it was related to skilled nursing, private duty, personal aide and therapy services. In this case, the employer had to pay $241,582 in back wages AND $241,582 as liquidated damages. In other words, twice as much as it would have had to pay had it paid overtime correctly to begin with. For those of you unaware, this is the dreaded “double damages” we talk about in the wage and hour world. The employer has to pay what it is owed and then the same amount as a penalty.
Remember, this is something I blogged about recently here. I have worked with several of these businesses and cannot stress enough how important an internal pay practice audit can be. I would highly encourage all home healthcare agencies to review your pay practices (remember just because “everyone else” is doing it doesn’t make it okay!) with an attorney and determine whether changes need to be made (and how to implement them and/or address any errors in past pay practices) – BEFORE the DOL comes knocking.