Care industry compliance initiative recovers $500K in back wages, damages for 48 workers after four Sacramento-area employers denied full wages
SACRAMENTO – An ongoing compliance initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor found that four Sacramento-area home care providers failed to pay employees overtime as required despite some working 24-hour shifts caring for those in need.
Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined the home care employers shortchanged their employees and deprived them of their rightfully earned wages, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In total, the division recovered $500,854 in back wages and liquidated damages for 48 workers and assessed $26,469 in penalties.
Specifically, investigators found the following:
- Nwabeke Care Home, with three locations in Sacramento, and owners James and Theresa Nwabeke, Okwuchi Uzoma, Chukwuebuka Chikezie and Christopher Uzoma failed to pay required overtime rates for hours over 40 in a workweek. Instead, the employer paid straight time for all hours worked. The employer also incurred recordkeeping violations by not providing the required time records. The division recovered $33,556 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 10 employees and assessed $7,490 in penalties.
- Peer Home Inc. failed to combine the hours employees worked at three Elk Grove locations. By doing so, the employer did not pay overtime rates for hours over 40 in a workweek. The employer also failed to provide time records, as required. The division recovered $229,271 in back wages for 25 employees and assessed $14,043 in penalties.
- L&S Gentle Care Inc. and owners Samuel and Imelda Padama failed to pay employees for all hours worked at one location in Vacaville and a second in Fairfield, resulting in one worker getting wages as low as $3.98 per hour. The employer also failed to pay overtime rates and maintain records of hours worked. The division recovered $108,396 in back wages for eight care givers and assessed $4,936 in penalties.
- Badette’s Place Inc. and owners Bles Carillo, Maria Vivar and Joe Carillo failed to record and pay all hours worked despite some employees working shifts of more than 24 hours at its Roseville location. In addition, the employer deducted hours worked while clients were absent, despite employees preparing meals, cleaning and arranging the home for the clients’ return. The division recovered $96,075 in back wages for five employees.
“The majority of care workers are women and low-wage earners who provide essential services for those most in need in our communities,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Cesar Avila in Sacramento, California. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to holding care service employers accountable and ensuring their workers are paid in full and as required by federal law.”
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 where a worker is from 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.
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