Feds recover nearly $60,000 in back wages for group of Mississippi health care workers. Company fined for shortchanging employees.

Published 1:19 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

Federal investigators recovered nearly $60,000 in back wages for a group of Mississippi home care workers who officials say were shortchanged by an assisted living center.

In the case involving an Arrington Assisted Living center in Columbus, Mississippi, $59,417 in back wages and liquidated damages were recovered for 64 workers. Civil money penalties of $7,616 were also assessed.

Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer at its Arrington Assisted Living location – which provides housing and nursing care, housekeeping and meal preparation services for older adults – failed to carry hours over from the beginning of a workweek into the next pay period when compensating employees on a semi-monthly pay schedule. By doing so, the employer did not pay employees the time-and-a-half rate due when the workweek hours split by the pay period totaled more than 40, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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Arrington Assisted Living also failed to compute a weighted average for employees paid two different pay rates in the same workweek. By doing so, the employer paid some employees lower overtime rates for hours worked over 40. In addition, the employer failed to keep accurate pay records as required.

In a 2022 investigation, the agency found the employer also violated the FLSA by failing to pay overtime premiums on shift differential bonuses and weight averages in overtime weeks at its Windsor Place Nursing Center location.

“Arrington Assisted Living repeatedly shortchanged workers their wages – the same workers who provide essential care for our loved ones – depriving those employees the means they need to support themselves and their loved ones,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Audrey Hall in Jackson, Mississippi. “The Wage and Hour Division will not tolerate employers repeatedly or willfully violating workers’ rights. Workers must be paid their hard-earned wages.”

In fiscal year 2022, the Wage and Hour Division concluded more than 1,100 investigations in healthcare industries. These investigations recovered nearly $15 million in back wages for more than 22,000 workers.