WILLOW GROVE, PA – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment ordering a Willow Grove home care agency that intentionally denied 433 employees full overtime wages to pay them more than $3.8 million in back wages and liquidated damages.
Obtained in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after litigation by the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia, the judgment requires TriMED HealthCare LLC and its owner, Beverly Jordan, to pay $1,930,761 in back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages and a civil money penalty of $180,141 for the willful nature of its violations. The department originally filed its complaint on Sept. 2, 2020.
“This is a significant recovery of back wages and liquidated damages for people who typically work for low wages and often struggle to make ends meet,” said Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman. “Employers must understand that federal law requires them to respect workers’ rights to be paid all of their earned wages, and that we will investigate those who fail to meet their obligations.”
The litigation and judgment was prompted by an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found TriMED HealthCare and Jordan paid direct care employees a regular rate ranging from $7.25 to $14 per hour. To avoid the expense of paying employees proper overtime, the employers lowered their regular rates when employees worked over 40 hours in a workweek, and paid overtime compensation based on those rates. By lowering the rates, the employer concealed the fact that they paid all hours as straight time in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The division also determined the employers paid some administrative employees straight time when overtime pay was required, failed to pay direct care workers for travel time between client homes and did not keep records as required.
“Employers who intentionally disregard the law and fail to pay workers their hard-earned wages will find that we will use every tool available, including enforcement actions in federal court, to hold them accountable,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda.
The division’s Philadelphia District Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney Brian Krier with the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia filed the complaint and secured the judgment days before an imminent jury trial.
In fiscal year 2022, the division recovered $14.9 million in back wages for more than 22,000 workers in the healthcare industry, where low wages and high rates of violations are common. As the U.S. population ages and demand for home healthcare services increases, employment in a variety of healthcare sectors is projected to grow 13 percent from 2021 to 2031 – faster than the average for all occupations – adding about 2 million new jobs.
“Today’s workers can choose to work for employers who value them, pay them full wages and respect their rights as workers,” Looman added. “Employers who comply with labor law and appreciate the dignity of work will have a clear advantage when it comes to retaining and recruiting workers.”
TriMED HealthCare LLC provides home care services for those with disabilities or those requiring a companion and serves Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton, Delaware, Chester, Lehigh, Philadelphia and other surrounding counties in Pennsylvania.
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 Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions or concerns 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 Timesheet App for free.