LOS ANGELES – A recent federal investigation found the owner of seven Los Angeles residential care homes intentionally denied 22 workers more than $56,000 in overtime wages and then attempted to hide their actions by altering timekeeping records. The scheme proved to be a costly mistake.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Home II U LLC – operated as Home 2 U and owned by Keith Cole – paid the affected workers straight-time rates for hours over 40 in a workweek, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime rules. Investigators determined the employer was fully aware of federal overtime laws when they withheld overtime wages and illegally altered timekeeping records to cover up their actions.
“Healthcare workers routinely put themselves at risk to care for people who depend on them for life supporting care and assistance. These workers deserve to be paid all the wages they’ve earned,” said District Director Kimchi Bui in Los Angeles. “Home II U LLC made a conscious decision to deny these essential workers the overtime they earned and then attempted to cover-up their misdeeds. The outcome in this case should serve as an example of the costly consequences employers face when they shortchange their employees.”
As a result of the investigation, the division recovered $112,508 for the affected workers – $56,254 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages – and assessed the employer $7,405 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of the violations.
The investigation includes the following Home 2 U locations in Los Angeles at 8724 LaSalle (its headquarters location), 8940 S. St. Andrews Place, 9140 S. Hobart Blvd., 10200 Manhattan Place, 1616 W. 110th Place, 7300 LaSalle Ave., and at 1645 W. 108th St.
In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered $13.8 million in back wages for more than 17,000 workers in the healthcare industry, known for both low wages and high rates of violations. As the U.S. population ages and demand for home healthcare services increases, employment in a variety of healthcare sectors is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030 – faster than the average for all occupations – adding about 2.6 million new jobs.
“As employers struggle to find the people they need to operate their businesses, those who ignore workers’ rights to full wages and benefits are likely to struggle to retain and recruit workers,” Bui explained. “Employers who abide by the law will certainly have the competitive advantage over those who do not.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s 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.