Napa nursing home company violated federal wage rules, Department of Labor says

Napa nursing home company violated federal wage rules, Department of Labor says

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A Napa company that runs six residential care facilities in the county will pay $225,000 in back wages to 25 employees after federal officials accused it of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements.

Stayman Estates LLC, which owns and operates six care homes for elderly patients diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, illegally classified caregivers as independent contractors rather than employees to avoid paying overtime, the Department of Labor said in a news release Thursday.

“This investigation serves as a strong signal that the Wage and Hour Division will ensure that workers receive the wages they have legally earned, and that employers compete on a level playing field,” said Wage and Hour District Director Susana Blanco in the release. “We encourage employers and employees to call us for assistance to improve their understanding of the labor standards and learn about our on-line educational tools to avoid violations like those found in this investigation.”

Investigators found Stayman Estates paid workers a daily flat rate regardless of the number of hours they worked, depriving caregivers of required overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division said. Stayman Estates also failed to maintain accurate records of the number of hours employees worked, also a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

After the news release came out, owner Leni Stayman told the Register “Stayman Estates has always tried to pay our workers correctly. When mistakes have been brought to our attention, we fixed them. Most of our workers have been with us over 5-10 years.”

This is the second time the Department of Labor has cited the employer for Fair Labor Standards Act violations. A 2014 investigation of Stayman Estates resulted in the employer paying $93,002 in back wages for overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping violations. For information on the Fair Labor Standards Act or to report suspected violations of wage rules, visit the agency’s website at dol.gov/agencies/whd.

Editor’s Note: This item has been modified to add comments from the business owner.

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