U.S. Department Of Labor Lawsuit Seeks Unpaid Wages and Liquidated Damages for 51 Health Care Employees
NEW HAVEN, CT – Following an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the U.S. Department of Labor has filed a federal lawsuit to recover unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 51 current and former employees of Care at Home LLC of New London, Connecticut. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the suit alleges that Care at Home LLC and its co-owners Daniel Karp and Suzanne Karp violated the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when they paid straight time instead of overtime to health care workers who worked more than 40 hours per week.
In addition, WHD investigators found that the defendants improperly deducted $33 per day from the employees’ wages for food and housing expenses, from January 2016 through at least October of 2016. The housing deductions created violations because the employees were often required to spend the night at the client’s home, primarily for the benefit of the employer, and because the employer failed to maintain accurate records substantiating the cost of the furnished lodging. The employers also failed to maintain records of food costs. The law limits the deduction employers may make to $10.88 per day absent records substantiating a higher deduction.
The suit also alleges that the defendants failed to record the times when employees began and ended work, and when clients’ needs interrupted their sleep. Recording of sleep interruptions is necessary because, among other reasons, if interruptions are so frequent that the employee cannot sleep without interruption for 5 hours, the entire sleep period must be considered paid work time. On the facts found during this investigation, WHD credited 8 hours per day for sleep time for each 24-hour period worked.
“The Wage and Hour Division will conduct investigations and collect back wages and liquidated damages, when appropriate, to ensure employers comply with the requirements of the law,” said David R. Gerrain, Wage and Hour Division District Director in Hartford. “We encourage employers to make use of the many tools we offer to explain their legal responsibilities.”
“An employer’s failure to pay required wages and to maintain complete and accurate records short-changes its employees and puts law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage,” said Michael Felsen, Regional Solicitor of Labor in Boston. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to use appropriate legal resources – including lawsuits, when necessary, to protect employees and to ensure a level playing field for employers.”
Care at Home LLC is a third-party employer that provides personal care services to aged and infirm clients in private homes and assisted living facilities.
WHD’s New Haven Area Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney Theresa Schneider Fromm of the Boston Regional Office of the Solicitor is litigating the case for the Division.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
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Acosta v. Care at Home LLC, doing business as Care at Home, Daniel Karp, and Suzanne Karp
Civil Action Number: No. 3:18-cv-00711-AWT