Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
SEATTLE -- The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has approved a consent judgment ordering two Woodinville assisted living facilities – 5 Stones Inc. and One Hundred Forty Eighth Inc., doing business as Above Woodinville Adult Family Home and Gold Creek Adult Family Home, respectively – and owners Marcus and Dawn Ulland to pay $38,400 in back wages and liquidated damages to eight workers employed as caregivers. The judgment resolves a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor after an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division disclosed willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions.
“The nursing home and residential care industry employs many low-wage and vulnerable workers who are susceptible to exploitation and disparate treatment,” said Donna Hart, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Seattle District Office. “The Labor Department has stepped up its enforcement efforts in this industry and, as demonstrated by the resolution of this case, we are using all tools available, including litigation and penalty assessments, to protect workers and ensure accountability under the law.”
Investigators from the division’s Seattle office found that night shift caregivers were required to work 14-16 hours in a 24-hour period but were often compensated for only eight hours. As a result, their pay dropped below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and they were not paid time and one-half their regular rates for hours exceeding 40 in a workweek. Investigators also discovered that the employers created and maintained inaccurate records by instructing night shift employees not to clock in any hours they had worked during their scheduled sleep periods.
Under the FLSA, covered employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage. Overtime compensation of time and one-half an employee’s regular hourly rate of pay is required for hours exceeding 40 in a workweek. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
In addition to requiring the payment of back wages and liquidated damages, the consent judgment permanently prohibits the defendants from future violations of the FLSA. It also requires them to pay the Labor Department $6,600 in civil money penalties for willful violations of the FLSA. If the payments are not made in a timely manner, the court may hold the owners personally liable for the unpaid balance and appoint a receiver with the power to seize and liquidate the defendants’ assets to satisfy the order.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Seattle office at 206-398-8039. Information also is available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
Western District of Washington, No.10-CV-01426-NTC
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