DOL Recovers Over $1 Million in Back Wages for TX, LA Healthcare Workers
Monday, November 28, 2022
Women of color working in health care are the most likely to lose out on wages they have earned because employers fail to pay what they owe, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Investigations have found 80% of violations affect home-care aides, nursing aides and licensed practical nurses, especially women working in Black, Hispanic and Asian communities.
Joseph Callihan, wage and hour investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor, said the most common violations are a failure to pay overtime or federal minimum wages, or misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
"These cases can be either complaint-driven cases or they can be target-driven," Callihan explained. "Where we know this industry is problematic, and we will go ahead and do a directed investigation."
Earlier this month, the Labor Department recovered $1.2 million in back wages for 599 home health care workers at three employers in Texas and one in Louisiana. In Texas, the department found the employers' pay practices violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and calculated 400 employees were owed $841,000 in overtime back wages.
The three Texas employers found to have violated laws were located in Laredo, Pharr and San Juan. Callihan noted an employer's failure to pay is not always intentional, and can be because they do not know the rules, even though the Labor Department provides "fact sheets."
"There's generally overtime violations in the industry, where they could be paying straight time for overtime, or they could be backing into the overtime rates," Callihan added.
Since 2021, the federal agency has completed more than 1,600 investigations, and recovered almost $29 million in back wages and damages for nearly 25,000 workers, with employer fines totaling more than $1 million.
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