Court orders Arizona home care provider to pay $521K in back wages, damages to 253 employees after Department of Labor finds wage theft
PHOENIX – The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona has ordered a Phoenix-based provider of non-medical home care services to pay 253 employees a total of $521,905 in back wages and liquidated damages after the U.S. Department of Labor determined the employer willfully denied them overtime pay.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Urgent Home Care Inc. – which provides in-home care to older adults – paid straight-time rates for overtime hours worked. They also learned the employer did not record and pay the affected employees for travel time between clients’ residences. These actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The department also levied a $24,222 civil money penalty for the willful and repeat violations. A 2016 investigation found Urgent Home Care violated similar overtime requirements.
“Urgent Home Care has again been found violating the rights of workers who provide essential services to people in need,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Murray in Phoenix. “The court’s order and the outcome of our investigation send the clear message that the U.S. Department of Labor will use its enforcement powers to recover workers’ hard-earned wages and hold those who deliberately engage in wage theft accountable.”
In addition to the recovery of $260,952 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, the consent judgment and order obtained by the department’s Office of the Solicitor also forbids Urgent Home Care from retaliating or taking any adverse actions against any employee who exercises their FLSA rights, and prohibits future violations of the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there almost 2.1 million job openings in the healthcare and social assistance industry, and that 664,000 industry workers quit their jobs in September 2022.
“As employers continue to struggle to find the people they need to fill open positions, those who fail to respect workers’ rights will find it harder to retain and recruit employees than employers who do,” Murray explained.
The Wage and Hour Division protects workers against retaliation and has regulations that also prohibit harassment, intimidation or adverse actions against employees that assert their worker rights. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division and how to file an online complaint. Workers and employers with questions can contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.