Tennessee health care group to pay workers $92,510 in back wages

A Tennessee health care provider that once operated 10 pediatric clinics in the state will pay 31 of its current and former employees $92,510 in back wages for violating provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to a Department of Labor press release, an investigation conducted by the agency's Wage and Hour Division uncovered evidence of violations of the law's overtime, recordkeeping and minimum wage requirements. During the course of the investigation, seven of the company's 10 clinics closed their doors.

The DOL press release suggests that the wage and hour law violations may have been caused by the company's financial struggles. Investigators discovered that workers had not been paid on time on many occasions and were sometimes issued checks that failed to clear because the payroll account they were drawn on had insufficient funds. This resulted in workers not being paid the hourly wages and overtime rates they were entitled to.

The company also attempted to skirt payroll tax requirements by classifying at least one full-time worker as an independent contractor. Investigators say that this worker was paid a straight-time rate regardless of the number of hours they actually worked. The company also failed to keep accurate records of the time the misclassified employee spent on the job. A DOL representative said that the FLSA investigation shows how seriously the federal government takes wage and hour violations.

Attorneys with experience in wage and hour cases may point to investigations like this one when workers who have not been paid properly are reluctant to take action. Attorneys might also advise them to keep accurate pay records and not to dispose of their timecards. This is because documents like payroll ledgers and paystubs are often the most crucial pieces of evidence in these cases.

Source: The U.S. Department of Labor, Tennessee Pediatric Clinic Enterprise to Pay $92,510 in Wages After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Finds Violations, Press release, May 30, 2019

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