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US Department of Labor recovers $176K in wages, damages for 76 nurses employed by Michigan's Friends Who Care

Type of Action: Consent Judgment

Name of Defendant: Friends Who Care Inc., Gayle Busselle

Resolution: A total of 76 current and former nurses employed by Friends Who Care Inc. are receiving $176,228 in back wages and liquidated damages under terms of a Consent Judgment entered in federal court in Flint, Michigan, Aug. 14.

The Consent Judgment resolves a lawsuit which resulted from an investigation conducted by the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, which alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime provisions by the Berkley, Michigan-based company and its president Gayle Busselle.

The Labor Department alleged that the company paid registered and licensed practical nurses on an hourly basis and paid straight time for all hours worked by these nurses who provide specialized care in the private homes of clients. The Labor Department alleged that the nurses were entitled to overtime compensation and were not exempt from overtime provisions of the FLSA which require time and a half of the employee's rate of pay for hours worked beyond forty in a workweek.
The Consent Judgment also permanently enjoins Friends Who Care Inc., which has 10 offices through the State of Michigan, and Busselle, from violating the FLSA in the future and requires the company to make, keep, and preserve accurate employment records.

Quote: "Nurses who provide home health care offer compassionate and skilled care to individuals in difficult medical situations. It is unacceptable for any employer not to pay these hard-working nurses their rightfully earned wages," said Timolin Mitchell, the Wage and Hour district director in Detroit.

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.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

Perez v. Friends Who Care Inc., Gayle Busselle
Civil action number: 4:13-cv-15147-MAG-RSW

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Eastern Division, Flint

OSHA News Brief: [08/17/2015]
Contact Name: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312)-353-6976
Email: Allen.Scott@dol.gov or Burke.Rhonda@dol.gov
Release Number: 15-1537-CHI