Care industry compliance initiative recovers $1M for 77 workers denied full wages by Seattle-area employers
SEATTLE – While 77 care workers employed by Seattle-area adult family home providers worked long hours to ensure the well-being and daily needs of older adults and people with disabilities, a federal investigation has found their employers were shortchanging them $530,418 in wages.
Part of an ongoing compliance initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the investigations determined that Elena’s Home Care, Nashville Adult Family Home, Kirsten Adult Family Home, Woodhaven Adult Family Home, Goldenville Adult Family Home and AssureCare Adult Home LLC paid workers daily flat rates regardless of the number of hours they worked. By doing so, the employers paid some employees less than the federal minimum wage and denied overtime wages to those who worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Their failures violate the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In total, the division’s investigations recovered $1,060,836 in back wages and liquidated damages for the affected workers and assessed $30,038 in civil money penalties.
Specifically, the division reached administrative settlements after finding the following:
- Elena’s Home Care, Nashville Adult Family Home, Kirsten Adult Family Home, Woodhaven Adult Family Home and Goldenville Adult Family Home failed to pay required overtime and did not keep required records. The division recovered $737,392 in back wages and liquidated damages for 43 employees and assessed $19,742 in penalties.
- AssureCare Adult Home LLC, based in Lakewood, and owner Marcelina Macandog failed to pay the required overtime rate for hours over 40 in a workweek. They also incurred recordkeeping violations by failing to maintain a record of hours worked and by not calculating wages on a workweek basis. The division recovered $323,444 in back wages and liquidated damages for 34 employees at eight Washington locations and assessed $10,296 in civil penalties for the willful nature of the violations. In 2018, the division recovered $110,000 in back wages after a previous investigation of AssureCare.
“Care workers in these adult family homes provided a lifeline to their clients but their employers failed respect the dignity of their employees by paying them all of their hard-earned wages,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva in Seattle. “AssureCare, Elena Home Care, Nashville Adult Family Home, Kirsten Adult Family Home, Woodhaven Adult Family Home, and Goldenville Adult Family Home ignored federal laws that protect workers’ wages and benefits, and deliberately made it more difficult for their employees to care for themselves and their families.”
“Since 2021, we’ve found violations in 80 percent of the more than 1,600 investigations we’ve completed in the care industry. These probes have recovered more than $28.6 million in back wages and damages for 25,000 workers, and led to nearly $1.3 million in penalties for employers,” Silva said. “The U.S. Department of Labor is determined to holding industry employers who cheat their workers legally accountable and committed to recovery these workers the wages they’re owed.”
In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered $13.8 million in back wages for more than 17,000 workers across the nation in the healthcare industry, known for both low wages and high rates of violations. As the U.S. population ages and demand for home healthcare services increases, employment in a variety of healthcare sectors is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030 – faster than the average for all occupations – adding about 2.6 million new jobs.
The division enforces the law regardless of a worker’s immigration status and can speak confidentially with callers in more than 200 languages. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). 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.