HONOLULU – A Honolulu substance abuse treatment facility must pay a total of $451,989 in back wages to 34 substance use disorder counselors and kitchen, clerical, maintenance and administrative staff after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation into the center’s illegal pay practices. In some cases, the facility paid workers providing patient care and other services as little as $400 per month.
Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined Kline Welsh Behavioral Health Foundation – operators of the Sand Island Treatment Center – did not pay affected employees overtime and minimum wages for all hours worked and failed to keep payroll records, all violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“People who provide care and valuable assistance in healthcare facilities deserve to be paid for their hard work and for the essential services they deliver to people in need,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu. “The Wage and Hour Division will ensure employers, such as Sand Island Treatment Center, meet their obligations under the law to the caregivers and workers who depend on their wages to care for themselves and their families.”
The division learned that the treatment center paid affected workers salaries that fell below the federal minimum wage when they worked between 41 and 63 hours in a workweek. Kline Welsh Behavioral Health Foundation also paid some employees a monthly stipend as low as $400 and classifying them “staff trainees” who, while waiting for a job opening at the center, learned the tasks of salaried employees.
In addition to the recovery of back wages, the division assessed Kline Welsh Behavioral Health Foundation $10,000 in civil money penalties and required the employer to submit a Compliance Action Plan to the division affirming the steps being taken to ensure FLSA compliance.
Founded in 1960, the non-profit Kline Welsh Behavioral Health Foundation provides mental health, drug and alcohol addiction recovery services in a residential setting on Oahu.
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. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers confidentially in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for i-OS and Android devices – free and now available in Spanish- to ensure hours and pay are accurate.