Federal court orders Minneapolis healthcare provider to pay $1.6M in back wages, damages to 136 employees, after US Department of Labor investigation
MINNEAPOLIS – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in federal court requiring a Minneapolis private in-home care provider to pay $1.6 million in back wages and damages, as part of the department’s effort to recover unpaid overtime wages for 136 healthcare workers in the Twin-Cities area.
On Jan. 19, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis ordered that Minnesota Living Assistance Inc. to pay $1 million upon signing the agreement, and the $600,000 balance in six equal quarterly installments beginning 90 days later.
The court’s action follows an examination of the company’s payroll records from July 19, 2018 through Sept. 1, 2020, by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found the company, operating as Baywood Home Care, violated federal law when it failed to pay the affected workers’ overtime wages for hours over 40 in a workweek, and did not maintain accurate pay records. As part of its recovery, the division assessed an equal amount in liquidated damages.
“Home healthcare workers provide essential caregiving work and ensuring the dignity of people unable to care for themselves,” explained Principal Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division Jessica Looman. “The long-awaited recovery of these wages will have a tremendous impact on 136 workers and their families.”
As part of the judgment, the company has agreed to hire an independent, third-party agent to audit the company’s payroll records from Sept. 7, 2022 to Sept. 7, 2023, to ensure compliance with provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If the auditor finds any non-compliance, Minnesota Living has agreed to make restitution within 15 days. The employer will also provide all employees with information on the FLSA, and their worker rights and protections under federal law.
“This consent order and judgment means that 136 caregivers will be paid fully for their hard work,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “The resolution of this matter shows that the U.S. Department of Labor will take all necessary actions, including litigation, to hold employers accountable when they fail to respect worker rights and protections.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, the average home healthcare aide earned $29,430 per year, about $14.15 an hour. As of November 2022, the healthcare and social assistance industry had more than 1.9 million open jobs nationwide.
“The Wage and Hour Division encourages workers to contact us if they believe their employer is not paying them all of their earned wages,” Looman added.
The Wage and Hour Division offers resources on wages rules for healthcare workers.
Founded in 2000, Minnesota Living Assistance Inc. provides both 24-hour “live-in” care, as well as in-home caregivers for clients over age 18 in metro-Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the bordering areas of Western Wisconsin and Southern Minnesota.
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. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.
Walsh v. Minnesota Living Assistance Inc., Dorothy Muffet,
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota