Department of Labor obtains order requiring Illinois care provider to pay $324K in back wages, damages to 159 workers denied overtime
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent order from a federal judge that orders the owner and administrator of an Illinois home care and home healthcare provider to pay $324,049 in back wages and liquidated damages as part of the department’s effort to recover overtime denied to 159 healthcare workers.
Following a two-year review of pay practices of Destiny Healthcare Services Inc. by the department’s Wage and Hour Division, the action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on July 31, 2023. Shortly thereafter, the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Chicago was able to obtain a consent order resolving all issues, including payment of $324,049 in back wages and liquidated damages, and an injunction for future compliance.
From October 2020 through October 2022, investigators determined owner Mirza Baig and administrator Sonia Chalal did not keep accurate records of hours worked and paid the affected workers straight-time wages for all hours worked. By doing so, the Westchester-based employers failed to pay overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Home caregivers deliver vital services and allow people to continue to live at home as they age or cope with medical ailments, yet these essential workers are among our nation’s lowest paid people,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Tom Gauza in Chicago. “Just as their clients depend on them, these workers rely on being paid every dollar they earn to support themselves and their families. We are committed to protecting these workers’ rights and to holding employers accountable when they fail to meet their legal obligations.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2022, the average nursing assistant in the home healthcare services industry earned $32,160 per year, about $15.46 an hour and that the healthcare and social assistance industry had more than 1.9 million open jobs nationwide.
“Employers must follow all applicable wage laws for their industry. The Wage and Hour Division encourages both employers and workers with questions on federal wage laws to contact us for clarification,” Gauza added.
Based in Westchester, Destiny Healthcare Services Inc. provides home care and home healthcare services, and also has offices in Aurora, Chicago, Evergreen Park and Joliet.
The Wage and Hour Division offers resources on wages rules for healthcare workers.
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. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for free on iOS and Android devices in English or Spanish to ensure hours and pay are accurate.
Su v. Destiny Healthcare Services, Inc,. Mirza Baig, Sonia Chalal
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division