Eldercare Homes in Orange County Fined for Denying Workers Overtime Pay
Ten eldercare facilities in Orange County were ordered by the U.S. Labor Department to pay 72 of their workers more than $173,000 in back pay. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the chain or nursing homes failed to pay caregivers time-and-a-half overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week. Any hours worked over that amount where paid in straight time, and in cash or by separate check. Officials also found that the company submitted false time sheets and payroll records in addition to failing to record cash payments.
Workers Denied Pay They Deserve
Investigators determined that caregivers were not paid for working through lunch breaks, for attending mandatory training sessions or for waking through the night to attend to the needs of patients. One employee reportedly worked up to 82 hours a week, with only 56 hours on payroll, 16 hours off payroll and 10 hours not compensated. The violations were said to have occurred over a period of three years, from October 2014 through October 2017.
The company operates six residential facilities for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and four other elder care facilities. Patients live in a home with live-in caretakers in upscale Orange County neighborhoods with rents starting at $3,000 a month. In recent years, assisted living facilities have been cited for a number of wage and hour violations by federal and state officials. Earlier this month, a chain in Los Angeles paid $7 million in back wages and penalties for paying 149 of its workers as little as $2.40 an hour.
Understanding Overtime Pay
One of the basic rules workers should understand about overtime pay is that under both federal and state laws, all work performed in excess of 40 hours in one workweek is considered overtime and must be paid at one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. The California Labor Code states that in addition to the 40-hour rule, workers who work more than eight hours in a workday must be paid at the rate of one and a half times their regular rate of pay. When an employee works in excess of 12 hours in a single workday, California law requires that the employer must pay the worker twice his or her regular rate of pay.
If you believe that your employer has not paid you the wages you are owed, you may be able to seek back pay and other damages. Please contact an experienced Orange County employment lawyer who can help fight for your rights.