Shortchanging 850 workers will cost operator $2 million

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Grand Healthcare will have to provide back wages of over $2 million to 844 employees.
Grand Healthcare will have to provide back wages of over $2 million to 844 employees.

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 in December. 

The Grand Healthcare System allegedly failed to pay overtime eligible employees for overtime work at five different facilities, and only paid employees for scheduled hours rather than the actual number of hours they worked. The Queens, NY-based chain was also found to have docked employees for short rest breaks, failed to pay workers who worked during meal breaks, and did not maintain accurate payroll records.

In addition to the $2 million in damages and back pay for 844 workers, the provider will pay $133,470 in civil monetary penalties, and be required to retain an independent Fair Labor Standards Act examiner. 

The total amount of back wages and damages will be split between The Grand's facilities in Chittenango, Whitesone, Pawling, Rome and Altamont, NY.

The Grand will also have to implement an automated timekeeping system, and provide employees with a printed statement of the daily hours they worked during the previous two-week period upon request.

“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. “The sorts of violations we found in this case are all too common in this industry.”

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

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