Medical Center’s Overtime Award Highlights FLSA Risks For Health Industry Employers

Health industry employers are cautioned to confirm the defensibility if their overtime, recordkeeping and other Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) compliance in light of the $45, 000 in back pay and liquidated damages the U.S. Department of Labor, a Wage and Hour Division ordered the Heart and Medical Center in Durant, Oklahoma to pay for wrongfully failing to pay overtime.

According to the Labor Department investigation found the employer violated the recordkeeping and overtime provisions of the FLSA by only paying 25 employees for their first 40 hours worked per week. It did not accurately record the hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek to avoid paying its healthcare workers time and a half for overtime hours or pay for missed lunch breaks automatically deducted from workers’ time. The Labor Department ordered the employer to $22,728 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 25 workers.

The Labor Department announcement of the backpay award signals that other health industry employers are at risk of similar investigations and enforcement actions.

“Unfortunately, the violations in this case are common in the healthcare industry. The Heart and Medical Center failed to pay employees for missed lunch breaks and denied them pay for overtime hours. When employers deprive workers of their full wages, they make it harder for them to care for themselves and their families,” said Wage and Hour District Director Michael Speer in Oklahoma City. “The U.S. Department of Labor is working with the healthcare industry nationally to educate employers to get workers paid properly and to help employers avoid the costly consequences of violating the law.”

In the face of the Labor Department’s concern focus on the health care industry health industry employers should work within the scope of attorney-client privilege to audit their FLSA compliance for the past two years and currently and take appropriate corrective action if necessary to correct past or current mistakes.

More Information

We hope this update is helpful. For more information about these or other health or other legal, management or public policy developments, please contact the author Cynthia Marcotte Stamer via e-mail or via telephone at (214) 452 -8297

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About the Author

Recognized by her peers as a Martindale-Hubble “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%) and “Top Rated Lawyer” with special recognition LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: ERISA & Employee Benefits,” “Health Care” and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is a practicing attorney board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and management consultant, author, public policy advocate and lecturer widely-known for 30+ years of health industry and other management work, public policy leadership and advocacy, coaching, teachings, and publications.

A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, Chair of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) International Section Life Sciences and Health Committee, Chair-Elect of the ABA TIPS Section Medicine & Law Committee, Past Chair of the ABA Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Scribe for the ABA JCEB Annual Agency Meeting with HHS-OCR, past chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group and current co-Chair of its Welfare Benefit Committee, Ms. Stamer is most widely recognized for her decades of pragmatic, leading-edge work, scholarship and thought leadership on health and managed care and employer benefits legal, public policy and operational concerns. 

Ms. Stamer’s work throughout her 35-plus year career has focused on working with health care and managed care, health and other employee benefit plan, insurance and financial services, and other public and private organizations and their technology, data, and other service providers and advisors domestically and internationally with legal and operational compliance and risk management, performance and workforce management, regulatory and public policy and other legal and operational concerns. She also speaks and publishes regularly on these and other topics.

For more information about Ms. Stamer or her health industry and other experience and involvements, see www.cynthiastamer.com or contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (214) 452-8297 or via e-mail here

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