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US Department of Labor files suit alleging Columbus, Ohio, day care workers did not earn minimum wage or overtime pay

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Lawsuit

Name of Defendant: Here to Help Learning Academy LLC and Michele Blake in Columbus, Ohio

Allegations: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that the Columbus, Ohio-based Here to Help Learning Academy LLC violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The lawsuit alleges that the day care center and its owner, Michele Blake, failed to pay its employees at least the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, and legally required overtime. Additionally, the company failed to maintain accurate records of all hours worked by its employees.

The overtime violations resulted when the employer paid child care providers straight time for hours worked beyond forty in a workweek, instead of time and a half their hourly rate of pay. Minimum wage violations occurred when the employer deducted uniform costs and miscellaneous expenses from workers' pay checks.

Resolution: The suit seeks over $11,688 in back wages and liquidated damages for the employees. The suit also seeks to enjoin the company and Blake from violating the FLSA in the future.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

Quote: "Denying these workers the wages they rightfully earned harms not only the employees and their families, but makes it harder for law-abiding employers to compete," said George Victory, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Chicago. "The Wage and Hour Division will use every enforcement tool at our disposal to ensure a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division (CITY, STATE)

Docket Number: CV-1597

WHD News Brief: [06/10/2015]
Contact Name: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Email: or
Release Number: 14-0995-CHI