New York– An Indian-origin owner and operator of three nursing homes in the US state of Michigan had to pay back $69,000 to managers who were not paid their overtime, according to a federal investigation.
Amee Patel owned and ran the operations at Chesaning Nursing Center and Detroit-based Beaconshire Nursing Center and Westwood Nursing Center.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered the whole amount in back wages and damages owed to 45 managers who worked at these three centers.
It found that Patel paid the managers hourly wages when they worked fewer than 40 hours in the workweek and paid salaried wages when they exceeded 40 hours.
By regularly alternating the managers’ status from hourly to salary, Patel voided their claim that the managers were overtime exempt, the investigation found.
“Business operators cannot casually decide to pay workers as salaried in some weeks and hourly in others. By doing so, Amee Patel clearly violated federal laws by denying workers at her healthcare facilities all their hard-earned pay,” Timolin Mitchell, Wage and Hour Division District Director in Detroit, said.
The division assessed and received payment of $7,938 in civil money penalties for Patel’s repeat violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In 2018, federal investigators found that Patel violated overtime regulations when she failed to pay drivers for all their travel and wait times.
In 2015, she failed to pay employees for attending mandatory trainings.
In total, the division recovered $17,173 in back wages for 12 Beaconshire Nursing Center employees, $14,205 in back wages for 21 employees at Westwood Nursing Center and $3,133 in back wages for 12 employees at Chesaning Nursing Center.
Patel also paid an equal amount in liquidated damages, for a total of $69,022.
In fiscal year 2022, the Detroit district office recovered nearly $2.2 million in back wages and liquidated damages for almost 3,000 workers in Eastern Michigan, of which nearly $500,000 was owed to healthcare workers. (IANS)