The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), operating on information from its Albany field office, has targeted the health care industry in New York state for investigation into the misclassification of workers and subsequent under-payment of overtime wages.
Underlying this effort is a finding by the department’s Albany district office that, during the past five years, almost two out of every three health care employers it investigated were violating different FLSA requirements, negatively impacting wages paid to workers in this industry.
Misclassification refers to classifying workers as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when in fact they are non-exempt and subject to overtime pay. If a firm is found to have misclassified its workers, it would owe back overtime wages to the affected employees. Depending on the size of the firm, duration of the misclassifications and number of employees affected, a settlement of this type could range into the millions of dollars.
Though it’s directly targeting New York, the DOL is investigating the misclassification of workers nationwide, especially focusing on hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agency providers.
Estimates of how widespread is the misclassification of workers in American business range from 70 to 95 percent, so most firms are vulnerable to DOL audits and possible fines and judgments.
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