U.S. Medical Staffing of Philadelphia 'willfully denied' healthcare aides and assistants their rightful pay, U.S. Labor Department says.
A Philadelphia healthcare staffing agency will pay $9.3 million to employees that were misclassified and denied overtime pay.
U.S. Medical Staffing must also pay a civil money penalty of $700,000, “for the willful nature of its violations,” according to a labor department news release.
U.S. Medical Staffing provides staff to various agencies, including schools and group homes for individuals with disabilities. Employees include direct support and intellectual disabilities professionals, residential aides, personal care assistants, home health aides and licensed practical nurses.
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that from at least September 24, 2017, through at least May 22, 2022 the employer denied overtime pay to the affected employees.
U.S. Medical Staffing paid the employees straight time for all hours worked but did not pay the time-and-one-half required rate for hours more than 40 in a workweek, the division determined. That is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Investigators also determined:
- In some cases, the employer claimed falsely to be a registry through which the company’s clients solely employed the workers.
- In other cases, U.S. Medical Staffing misclassified employees as independent contractors.
After the investigation, U.S. Medical Staffing agreed to the consent judgment.
“This consent judgment makes clear to all healthcare industry employers that just like U.S. Medical Staffing, they will be held accountable when they fail to pay employees their legally earned wages,” said Seema Nanda, solicitor of Labor. “The U.S. Department of Labor is prepared to use every tool available, including litigation, to prevent employers from violating workers’ rights.”
In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered $13.8 million in back wages for more than 17,000 workers in the healthcare industry, where low wages and high rates of violations are common.
With an aging U.S. population and a growing demand for home health and personal care services increasing, employment in support healthcare occupations is projected to grow 17.8% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“As employers struggle to find the people they need to operate their businesses, those who ignore workers’ rights to full wages and benefits are likely to struggle to retain and recruit workers,” said Jessica Looman, Wage and Hour principal deputy administrator. “Employers who abide by the law will certainly have a greater appeal than those who do not.”
“The U.S. Department of Labor is prepared to use every tool available, including litigation, to prevent employers from violating workers' rights.”
— Seema Nanda, solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
U.S. Medical Staffing did not pay the time-and-one-half required rate for hours more than 40 in a workweek.
U.S. Medical Staffing provides staff to various agencies, including schools and group homes for individuals with disabilities.
Some employees were misclassified as independent contractors.