The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking back wages and damages for 89 current and former workers of Northridge Health Center in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The facility is operated by Altercare Inc., which is headquartered in North Canton and operates 16 nursing care and rehabilitation facilities in Ohio. The DOL reports that this is not the first time that the facility has been investigated and found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
The pending lawsuit was filed as a result of a DOL investigation finding several violations of the FLSA, including: improper classification of salaried employees as exempt from overtime; failure to include nondiscretionary bonuses or incentive pay in employees’ regular rates when computing overtime; automatic deduction of 30-minute meal periods regardless of whether employees received a break; and failure to maintain accurate records of hours worked and used improper rounding practices when recording work time.
This Northridge case is an example of the common misconception that paying employees on a salary basis exempts employees from being paid overtime compensation. Generally, employers are required to compensate employees at the rate of one-and-one-half times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked in a workweek over 40 hours. However, some employees are exempt from overtime pay provisions, including: executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees; salesmen, partsmen and mechanics employed by auto dealerships; drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders and mechanics employed by a motor carrier; computer professionals; commissioned sales employees of retail or service establishments; farmworkers employed on small farms; and some seasonal and recreational establishment employees. Notable in these exemptions is that the method of payment is not the determining factor, rather it is the type of work performed, or the industry in which it is performed.
Although numerous exemptions exist, they are all very fact specific. If you are not being paid for hours that you work in excess of 40 hours per workweek, and it is not clear that you fall within one of the exemptions referenced above, contact us to evaluate your rights.