Nursing home chain to pay $2 million in back wages, damages

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A New York-based skilled nursing chain will pay more than $2 million in back wages and damages after underpaying nearly 850 workers, the Department of Labor announced on Thursday.

The Grand Healthcare System allegedly failed to compensate overtime eligible employees at five different facilities for overtime work, and only paid employees for scheduled hours rather than the actual number of hours they worked. The provider also was found to have docked employees for short rest breaks, failed to pay workers who worked through meal breaks, and failed to maintain accurate payroll records.

In addition to the $2 million in back pay and damages for 844 workers, The Grand will pay $133,470 in civil monetary penalties to the DOL. The company will also be required to take corrective actions including retaining an independent Fair Labor Standards Act examiner, and implementing an automated timekeeping system.

The company declined to comment to McKnight's on the DOL's announcement.

Previous investigations into two of Grand's locations conducted between 2005 and 2013 found similar violations, and resulted in the company paying almost $130,000 in back wages to 146 employees, along with $20,460 in penalties.

“There was no excuse for this company's continued disregard ... for the rights of its workforce,” said Mark Watson, administrator for the DOL's Wage and Hour Division's Northeast region. “As the sizable penalty assessed in this case demonstrates, we will continue to use every enforcement tool at our disposal to incentivize employers to comply with the law. The sorts of violations we found in this case are all too common in this industry.”