In a federal lawsuit filed in New York State, prosecutors for the US Department of Labor have accused Regency Extended Care Center, a short- and long-term care facility in Yonkers, of breaking the Fair Labor Standards Act, Westfair Online reports.
New York Care Facility Accused Of Overtime Violations
Regency Extended Care Center, parent company Hudson View Care Center Inc. and owner Michael Melnicke are named as defendants in the suit, which charges the health care facility of willfully violating federal labor laws in the payment of employees.
The companies are accused of having failed to properly pay overtime wages to 83 current and former employees. An additional count charges the health care employer with failing to maintain accurate payroll records.
Third Lawsuit In 11 Years
Regency Extended Care Center, a 315-bed facility at 65 Ashburton Avenue, has found itself in hot water before. Over the last 11 years, Regency has been sued by the Labor Department on no fewer than 3 occasions.
In previous investigations, the Labor Department found that Regency had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that governs minimum wage and overtime requirements for millions of American employees. Across the nation, the health care industry is a leading source of wage and hour litigation.
In its newest lawsuit, the Department of Labor claims to have substantial evidence that Regency Extended Care Center failed – yet again – to adequately pay registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and housekeepers.
Allegations In The Lawsuit
The allegations arise from the period between April 2014 and April 2017. The employees involved make a range of hourly rates, from $11 per hour to $31 per hour. Labor Department prosecutors say the workers often labored longer than 40 hours per week, but were not paid properly for their extra time. Weekly workloads at the facility routinely reached 70 hours.
According to court documents, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants at Regency were frequently scheduled to work six days a week, laboring around 8 hours a day. Labor Department officials claim that Regency withheld earned pay in a variety of ways. The complaint lists a litany of common overtime violations.
Unpaid Pre- & Post-Shift Labor
Prosecutors accuse the health care employer of failing to pay employees for work performed before and after their shifts began; the lawsuit says that nurses and nursing assistants frequently came in early and left late to complete all of their work duties.
Uncompensated Work During Meal Breaks
Meal breaks also proved problematic, the complaint says. Regency’s payroll software automatically deducts a 30-minute break for lunch, even though nurses occasionally work through their breaks. As just one example, take the licensed practical nurse, or LPN, who was scheduled to work a 64-hour week in January of 2017. Allegedly, the LPN worked between 17 and 36 extra minutes every day, toiling before and after her shift began. At the end of the week, the LPN had worked a total of 66.5 hours, yet she was only paid for 52.5 hours.
Employee misclassification also comes into the picture. Regency is accused of misclassifying a housekeeper in a supervisory role, unfairly depriving the worker of overtime pay. The housekeeper, court documents report, was paid a flat hourly rate of $18.98 per hour, despite having worked up to 56 hours per week.
The suit also draws in 11 nurses and nursing assistants who were employed by Exclusive Nurse Staffing Inc., a staffing company that partners with Regency Extended Care Center. Labor Department prosecutors say Exclusive Nurse Staffing paid the workers by using Regency’s payroll numbers, which were incorrect.