Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Louisiana home care companies cheated workers out of $422,000 in wages, feds say

by BIZ Magazine

BY: WESLEY MULLER – Louisiana Illuminator

Federal labor officials successfully prosecuted five home health care companies in Louisiana that reportedly cheated their employees out of nearly a half-million dollars in wages.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Wednesday it had recovered $422,000 in back pay for 219 workers for home care providers that unlawfully denied them overtime pay or took improper deductions from their paychecks, according to a DOL news release.

The companies are Assisted Hands LLC, Joy PCA Services LLC and Our Grace LLC in Baton Rouge; Quality Community Homes LLC in Greensburg; and We Care Sitting Services LLC in Shreveport. None of them responded to a request for comment.

Investigators with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined four of the five companies, with the exception of Assisted Hands, cheated their workers out of overtime pay. They misclassified their employees as independent contractors and paid them straight-time rates for all hours worked when they should have paid overtime for any time past 40 hours in a workweek. The division also identified Fair Labor Standards Act violations related to improper deductions from employees’ wages and failures to pay minimum wage and overtime as required.

The violations have been adjudicated and settled. Labor officials recovered the lion’s share of the money from Our Grace LLC, which owed 94 employees a total of $241,000 in back pay. As for the remainder, Quality Community Homes returned almost $68,000, We Care Sitting Services returned $45,000, Assisted Hands returned $43,000, and Joy PCA returned $25,000.

“Misclassification of employees as independent contractors is particularly troublesome in the home care industry,” said Troy Mouton, New Orleans district director for the Wage and Hour Division. “These workers perform critical services and their employers must pay them every cent the law requires. The Department of Labor will continue to demand industry compliance and hold employers who violate the law accountable.”

Anyone who thinks they may be owed back wages collected by labor officials can use the Wage and Hour Division’s online search tool.

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