The Los Angeles city attorney filed a suit recently claiming a home health care agency has been stealing money from its workers and violating minimum wage and overtime laws. The suit claims that Health Alliance Nurses Corp. and Hand Homecare Provider Inc., which employs more than 200 people, many of whom are Filipino immigrants, has not been paying its workers minimum wage or provided them overtime pay that was earned.
The lawsuit alleges that the agency would charge a specific amount to its clients, but then pay much lower rates to its workers.
As reported by Richard Winton for the LA Times in the new article, L.A. city attorney accuses home healthcare firm of stealing workers’ wages:
“The suit alleges the firms would charge clients between $170 and $250 per day for 24-hour in-home domestic care to patients, but the employees were paid only $100 to $125 per shift, equating to as little as $5.50 per hour or less. According to the lawsuit, the defendants pressured the caregivers to falsify time records to avoid overtime payments and routinely threatened them with termination or blacklisting within the industry.
The workers, the suit alleges, were prohibited from discussing rates directly with clients and often were threatened with exorbitant contractual penalties if they attempted to go to work directly for a client.”
Broken down, this means the agency charges between $7.08 per hour and $10.40 per hour based on a 24 hour fee. Workers being paid between $100 and $125 per shift, assuming the ‘shift’ is a 24 hour shift, would mean $4.16 per hour and that doesn’t take into account overtime and other fees.
The city’s top lawyer has been in the news lately because of aggressive stands regarding immigrant rights, patient dumping by hospitals, and even going after Wells Fargo & Co.’s business practices, according to the L.A. Times.
City Attorney Mike Feuer is being aggressive, but he’s not being met without resistance. When he attempted to meet with immigration officials at LAX shortly after President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning immigration from 7 specifically listed nations, he was not able to do so. Representatives for this home healthcare agency have claimed the lawsuit has no merit and it basically comes down to a misunderstanding of the laws governing the industry.
These company representatives also claimed a countersuit against the city would be forthcoming for the allegations made against it.