Some employers are quite creative in the lengths they go to avoid paying their employees overtime. One frequently used method is to split hours across multiple legal entities (e.g. corporations), improperly diluting the number of hours that employees work. Such was the case with ComForCare Home Care in Pennsylvania, which was recently ordered to pay workers $2.4 million in unpaid overtime. Don’t let a dishonest employer deny you the overtime wages you’ve rightfully earned. The Lore Law Firm can help.
Understanding What ComForCare Did
A mother and daughter team operating the ComForCare senior living facility near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was found liable to the tune of $2.4 million for splitting their employees’ weekly hours across two corporations. The objective was to avoid paying these workers overtime, which employees are generally entitled to receive for any hours worked over 40 during a week. The company’s owners allegedly cheated 345 workers out of their overtime by dividing their timesheets into two separate payroll systems. By splitting the hours across the two companies operating those systems, ComForCare avoided paying its employees time and a half.
ComForCare was the business entity that actually hired the workers. However, employees’ overtime hours were directed to another business entity, Staff Source, and were managed by that company’s payroll system. So workers received two separate checks from ComForCare and Staff Source. And while many employees worked upwards of 50, 60, or more hours per week, the checks were manipulated such that both of them showed employees working fewer than 40 hours per week.
The companies were forced to pay over $1.2 million in back wages, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages. In addition, because it was determined that the companies’ actions constituted willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they were also ordered to pay over $400,000 in civil penalties.
Employers Work Hard to Deny Overtime Pay
Unfortunately, ComForCare’s scheme is among several that companies routinely use to deny their employees overtime. Some employers, for instance, average hours across two weeks. For instance, you might work 50 hours one week (including 10 hours of overtime) and 30 the next. Your employer may average the hours out to 40 per week, which would be paid at the regular rate instead of overtime.
Another common practice is to ask employees to perform job duties either before they clock in or after they clock out for the day. These extra duties may only take a few minutes, but over time they can add up. Employers who fail to credit their workers with these hours may end up denying them the time and a half pay to which they are entitled.
Don’t Lose Your Right to Overtime
The Lore Law Firm represents workers across the country who are fighting for fair treatment in their wages, hours, and related labor law matters. We help employees recover the overtime pay that their employers have cheated them out of, filing lawsuits to help deter future illegal practices. With a nationwide legal network, we can help you assert your rights under the FLSA and state laws. To find out more, complete our free and confidential client intake form today.