FAIRFAX, VA – A federal court has directed a Fairfax home care agency and its owners to pay more than $1.6 million in back wages and liquidated damages to 202 home health aides in a consent judgment obtained by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The action by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia follows an investigation of 1st Adult & Pediatrics Healthcare Services Inc. by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found the company and its owners, Carolyn Bryant-Taylor and Kafomdi Josephine Okocha, willfully denied the affected workers overtime wages by paying them straight-time rates of pay for all hours worked, including hours over 40 in a workweek.
Investigators also learned the employers did not keep required payroll records, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Despite the division’s findings, 1st Adult & Pediatrics Healthcare Services, Bryant-Taylor and Okocha refused to pay the back wages and damages owed to the workers. In September 2022, the department’s Office of the Regional Solicitor filed suit to recover the monies owed.
The court’s judgment required the employers to pay $834,782 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to the affected workers. They must also pay $48,675 in civil money penalties to the department for their intentional violations and must not violate the FLSA in the future.
“Hard-working home care aides provide essential services to people in need and deserve to be paid all their legally earned wages,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicholas Fiorello in Baltimore. “Our investigation found the employers willfully disregarded the law and used pay practices that harmed their own employees.”
The division’s Baltimore District Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney Alejandro Herrera in Region III’s Philadelphia office and Wage and Hour Counsel Angela France in the Arlington, Virginia, office litigated the case and secured the judgment.
“The U.S. Department of Labor will hold employers who fail to comply willfully with the Fair Labor Standards Act legally accountable,” said Deputy Regional Solicitor Samantha Thomas in Philadelphia. “The outcome of this investigation and litigation should send a clear signal to other home healthcare industry employers that we will not tolerate employees being shortchanged by illegal pay practices.”
Based in Fairfax, 1st Adult & Pediatrics Healthcare Services Inc. provides skilled nursing and pediatric care services in residential settings in Virginia.
Learn more about worker protections for care workers and the responsibility of employers to comply with federal minimum wage and overtime law.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws the division enforces, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the division confidentially with questions or concerns – regardless of where they are from – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.
Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-01032