A federal court has ordered a Philadelphia home care provider and its owner to pay over $7 million in back wages and damages to 1,230 current and former employees in connection with failing to pay overtime wages.
Prestige Home Care Agency and its owner Alexander Dorfman were found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime and recordkeeping provisions. The court found that Prestige “willingly” failed to pay the required overtime rates to home health aides who worked for over 40 hours in a week and failed to keep accurate time and payroll records.
Prestige was also found guilty of paying employees straight-time hourly rates for all hours worked, even during hours that would have qualified for overtime pay.
James Cain, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division District Director in Philadelphia, said that Prestige and Dorfman owed more than $3.5 million in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
“Unfortunately, our investigators found yet another Philadelphia-area home health agency willfully shortchanging employees and skirting the law,” he said in a statement. “In this case, Prestige Home Care Agency denied 1,230 current and former employees more than $3.5 million in wages they earned for putting in long hours to help vulnerable people in our community.”
The DOL estimates that 80% of all home care providers are not in compliance with FLSA, and is cracking down on violations within the industry. These violations include failure to pay employees for travel time, which Prestige was guilty of, DOL Deputy Regional Solicitor Samantha Thomas said in a statement.
“The court’s judgment affirms the Department of Labor’s position that home care employers must pay employees for travel time, which is an essential part of their job duties,” she said. “The outcome in this case serves as a stark reminder to other homecare employers that the consequences for shortchanging employees can be costly both to the company’s bottom line and to its industry reputation.”