FORT WAYNE, IN – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in federal court as part of its recovery of $188,915 in overtime back wages and liquidated damages for 83 employees denied overtime pay by a Fort Wayne home care provider.
On July 27, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Holly A. Brady in the Northern District of Indiana in Fort Wayne ordered UniqueHab Solutions LLC and its operators, John Musili and Tony Aduro, to pay the wages and damages owed to the affected employees. The workers provide supported living services to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities at the company’s branch offices in Fishers and Clear Vista.
The company will also pay $70,000 in civil money penalties after investigators found allegations the employer asked employees to sign a waiver of rights to overtime, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. UniqueHab Solutions must pay 5.33 percent post-judgment interest on the back wages and liquidated damages.
“Home care employees work long hours assisting clients with daily living tasks that let them keep their dignity and live at home, yet too often we find industry employers violating overtime rules and denying these care workers their rightful wages,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Aaron Loomis in Indianapolis. “The Department of Labor will fight for justice for workers denied their hard-earned wages.”
In addition to requiring payment of wages and damages, the judgment forbids the employers from future FLSA violations, such as those found by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. These included UniqueHab’s failure to pay employees overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek and to keep accurate records of employees’ work schedules. The division reviewed the company’s employment practices from May 2019 to May 2021.
The court’s action comes after UniqueHab Solutions LLC refused to resolve the matter administratively, which led the department to file its complaint in federal court in June of 2022.
Founded in 2013, UniqueHab Solutions provides non-medical home care services for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. These services include residential habilitation support services, respite services to relieve caregivers, healthcare coordination including management of medications, side effects, doctor visits and adaptive equipment, and transportation to appointments, social activities and gatherings.
In May 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 801,000 healthcare and social assistance workers left their positions and the field had more than 1.7 million openings. As the aging U.S. population grows and demand for home healthcare services increases, employment in a variety of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2021 to 2031 – faster than the average for all occupations – adding about 2 million new jobs.
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). Workers and employers can call the division confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
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. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for Android and iOS devices – free and available in English and Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.
Walsh v. Uniquehab Solutions LLC, John Musili, Tony Aduro
U.S. District Court, District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
Civil Action No: 1:22-cv-00189-HAB-SLC