Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Department of Labor sues Oxnard, Calif., nursing home for unpaid wages, damages and workplace retaliation
LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a complaint in federal District Court against Oxnard Manor nursing home in Oxnard and its administrator, Steven Rieder, after an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation determined that the employer violated the overtime, record-keeping and anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Retaliation against employees for reporting wage violations to federal authorities is unacceptable and illegal,” said Kimchi Bui, the division’s district director in Los Angeles. “Employers can face legal action and significant monetary penalties for discharging or otherwise harassing employees who file a complaint or participate in an investigation.”
The lawsuit alleges that the employer required employees to work off-the-clock, deducted hours worked from their timecards, and paid only straight time instead of time and one-half the employee’s regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The employer also wrongly classified some employees as exempt from overtime pay.
In addition to paying unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, the department’s lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California seeks lost wages and the reinstatement of an employee who was terminated because the employer believed she had spoken to investigators about the wage violations.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
It is a violation of the FLSA for any person to discharge, or in any other manner discriminate against any employee, because the employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to the FLSA, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.
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). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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