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DOL Sues Healthy Solutions Home Health Services for Employee Misclassification

January 13, 2012

In recent employment misclassification news that our Costa Mesa wage and hour attorney Vincent Howard has been following, last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) filed a lawsuit against Healthy Solutions Home Health Services LLC, based in Columbus, Ohio--seeking over $84,000 in liquidated damages and back wages for ten workers, after a DOL investigation found the employer responsible for employee misclassification.

According the DOL, the lawsuit was filed after an investigation uncovered that the employer had misclassified employees as independent contractors--violating the Fair Labor Standard Act's (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime payment provisions.

As our Carson, California employment lawyers blog has often discussed, employment misclassification is a growing workplace trend, particularly in low wage industries like the health care industry, that often preys on vulnerable workers who aren't aware of their rights. Employee misclassification poses a serious threat to employees, by denying them access to important employment benefits and protections, like minimum wage and overtime payments, meal periods and rest breaks, workers' compensation, family and medical leave, and other critical benefits. Employee misclassification also causes a great threat to honest, law-abiding employers who have a difficult time competing against those businesses who are breaking the law.

As Vincent Howard has also discussed in related Anaheim wage and hour blogs, under the FLSA, employers are required to pay employees covered under the act at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour, for every hour worked--with overtime payment of one and one-half their normal hourly pay rates for any hours worked over forty in a work week. The FLSA also requires that employers keep accurate time and payroll records, and prohibit any form of retaliation against employees who stand up for their rights under the FLSA.

Because the Healthy Solutions Home Health Services employees were misclassified, the workers were denied their right to minimum wage and overtime compensation, as required by the FLSA. The DOL investigation also found that the time spent traveling between work sites was neither recorded for the employees, nor counted toward their total hours worked, and any hours worked over forty in a workweek were paid at a straight time rate, instead of an overtime rate. The DOL also found that proper payroll records were not accurately maintained--also a violation of the FLSA.

The DOL stated that the department continues to be committed to ensuring that these workers receive their legally entitled right to proper payment, and will use all of the necessary tools to enforce the law, including litigation, in order to recover workers' wages, and to ensure that law-abiding employers have access to a level playing field.

If you have experienced violations of the FLSA as well as California Labor Codes in Orange County, California, contact Vincent Howard and our labor and employment law team at Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation about your workplace rights.

US Department of Labor sues Columbus, Ohio-based Healthy Solutions Home Health Services seeking back wages, liquidated damages for employees, The U.S. Department of Labor Press Release, December 28, 2011

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Related Blog Posts:

Audit Associates Gain Certification for Conditional Collective Action--in Employee Misclassification Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 10, 2012

DOL Proposes Revisions to FLSA's Wage and Hour Laws for Home Care Workers, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 27, 2011

Obama and DOL Seek to Extend Federal Wage and Hour Laws to Home Health Care Workers, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 27, 2011

Understanding An Employee's Right to Holiday Pay, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 19, 2011

DOL Wage and Hour Investigation Forces South Florida Restaurants To Pay Nearly $700K in Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2011

DOL Continues Long Island Wage and Hour Enforcement Initiative to Stop FLSA Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 3, 2011

DOL Recovers Over $2.3M in Wage and Hour Back Wages for 578 NY Restaurant Workers, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 30, 2011

Restaurant Pays $83K in Back Wages for Overtime, Minimum Wage Violations of FLSA, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 17, 2011

Tennessee Restaurants To Pay Overtime Back Wages for Willful and Repeated FLSA Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 11, 2011

DOL Continues to Track Down Federal Wage and Hour Law Violations in the Workplace, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 8, 2011

CA Wage and Hour Lawsuit Settlement--66 Japanese Employees to Receive $145K in Overtime Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 22, 2011

Another DOL Investigation Brings Restaurant Employees $275K in Overtime Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 18, 2011