U.S. Department of Labor Recovers Back Wages and Damages For Oklahoma Healthcare Workers
CUSHING, OK – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), AHS Cushing Hospital LLC – operating as Hillcrest Hospital Cushing in Cushing, Oklahoma – has paid $30,488 in back wages and liquidated damages to 12 employees to resolve violations of the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Investigators found that the employer, a subsidiary of Ardent Health Systems, automatically deducted 30-minute meal breaks from employees’ work time regardless of whether or not they actually took those breaks. The employer violated the FLSA when it failed to pay employees for time they spent answering phones and continuing to perform their regular job duties through their scheduled breaks. The employer violated FLSA recordkeeping provisions by failing to keep accurate time records.
“Healthcare workers play a vital role in our society and must be paid for all the hours that they work,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Michael Speer, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “Other employers who automatically deduct break time from their employees should use the outcome of this investigation as an opportunity to evaluate their own practices to ensure they comply with the law. Employers can avoid costly violations like those in this case.”
The department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd including a search tool for workers who may be owed back wages collected by WHD.
The mission of WHD is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.