News Release

Court orders Haslett healthcare facility owner who allegedly threatened to fire employees for cooperating with investigation to attend anti-retaliation training

Safe Haven Assisted Living of Haslett must also pay $16K in back wages, damages

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A federal court in Michigan has ordered the owner of a Haslett assisted living facility, 

who allegedly threatened to fire three employees after she suspected they cooperated with a U.S. Department of Labor investigation, to attend training on federal anti-retaliation regulations and pay back wages and damages.

On Dec. 11, 2023, District Judge Jane M. Beckering of the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division in Grand Rapids, issued the consent judgment and order requiring Safe Haven Assisting Living of Haslett LLC and owner Tamesha Porter to pay $16,500 in back wages and liquidated damages to the three affected former employees.

The action follows a February 2023 lawsuit filed by the department in relation to its Wage and Hour Division’s findings that, after the division reviewed 18 months of Safe Haven’s pay practices, Porter regularly threatened termination and tried to identify employees she believed had cooperated with investigators. After one of the employees resigned, Porter contacted their prospective employer and made claims of the employee’s misconduct at Safe Haven. 

“This case’s resolution restores back wages earned and compensates three workers harassed by Tamesha Porter for exercising their rights to cooperate with federal investigators, a clear violation of the workers’ protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Mary O’Rourke in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

The order also requires Safe Haven Assisted Living to display a fact sheet about the Fair Labor Standards Act’s anti-retaliation provisions and to distribute it to current and future employees. The facility must also provide neutral job references for the former employees.

“Tamesha Porter and Safe Haven Assisting Living of Haslett LLC have been held accountable for trying to threaten and intimidate employees during a U.S. Department of Labor investigation,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Christine Heri in Chicago. “We will take all necessary actions to protect the legal rights of workers to their full pay and against retaliatory action.”             

The division’s review of Safe Haven’s payroll records from Aug. 16, 2020, through Dec. 12, 2021, found the company and Porter failed to pay the affected workers for breaks not taken because of work demands. By doing so, the employer violated the FLSA’s overtime provisions.

An earlier, Jan. 17, 2023, consent judgment issued by the federal court in Grand Rapids required Porter and Safe Haven Assisting Living of Haslett LLC to pay $15,238 in back wages and damages to six of the facility’s workers. Porter has made the payments. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act’s anti-retaliation clause forbids any person from terminating or in any other manner discriminating against any employee because of such employee’s protected activities, including filing a complaint or cooperating with a Wage and Hour Division investigation. 

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 – free and also available in Spanish - to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

Walsh v. Safe Haven Assisted Living of Haslett LLC, Tamesha Porter 

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division

Civil Action No.: 1:23-cv-00136

Wage and Hour Division
December 13, 2023
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
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