Department of Labor recovers $119K in back wages for 72 workers after North Carolina home care employer misclassifies them as contractors
Employer: Sunshine Agency Inc.
2801-3Z Ward Blvd.
Wilson, NC 27869
Investigation findings: Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the provider of day and overnight home healthcare to the sick and elderly in the Wilson area misclassified employees as independent contractors and paid them straight-time rates for all hours worked. By doing so, the employer did not pay the affected workers their additional half-time premium rate for overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek, a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. In addition, the employer failed to keep accurate pay records as required.
Back Wages Recovered: $119,716 for 72 workers
Quote: “Misclassifying employees as independent contractors deprives workers of their legally protected wages and benefits, puts employers who play by the rules at a disadvantage and hurts our economy,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock in Raleigh, North Carolina. “The Department of Labor is determined to make sure workers are paid their hard-earned wages and to provide compliance assistance confidentially to any worker or employer with questions.”
Background: From 2020 to 2022, Wage and Hour Division investigators identified violations in nearly 90 percent of more than 1,200 home care and nursing care investigations. These reviews led the agency to recover more than $16.2 million in back wages and liquidated damages for more than 13,000 workers. In addition, the division assessed employers a total of $156,404 in civil money penalties. Get more information on how this effort aligns with the agency’s initiative to protect essential workers in the Southeast, or see how the Wage and Hour Division is focused on improving compliance by residential care, nursing facilities, home health services and other care-focused industry employers by protecting workers’ rights and protections, nationwide.
Employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. The division also offers online resources for employers, such as a fact sheet on Fair Labor Standards Act wage laws overtime requirements. Workers who feel they may not be getting the wages they earned or are misclassified as independent contractors may contact a Wage and Hour Division representative in their state through a list and interactive online map on the agency’s website. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android or IOS Timesheet App for free and available in English and Spanish. Learn more about Wage and Hour Division.