NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The third federal investigation in the past six years of the Northridge Health Center has resulted in a lawsuit filed in federal court that seeks back wages of nearly $61,000 for nearly 90 current and former employees.
The suit names the 99-bed facility’s director Robert Wickes, and operator Altercare Inc. as defendants.
The litigation stems from a federal probe of the long-term care facility conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found that back wages totaling $60,909 are owed to 89 current and former Northridge health-care workers due to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a release issued Thursday from the U.S. Department of Labor in Chicago.
As a result of repeated violations, the federal agency has also assessed civil money penalties totaling $62,411.
A woman who answered calls to the Westminster Avenue facility said administrative personnel were not present Thursday and no one else was available for comment.
The woman said she was unaware of the lawsuit.
In 2006, an investigation disclosed overtime violations resulting in $8,404 in back wages that were subsequently recovered for 76 employees.
In 2008, the company was found to owe $4,785 in back wages to 54 employees for overtime violations.
Civil money penalties of $11,800 were assessed for repeat violations in that case.
Calls to Department of Labor spokesman Scott Allen seeking further comment Thursday were not returned.
The most recent federal investigation determined Northridge Health Center wrongly classified three salaried employees as being exempt from overtime and, consequently, failed to pay the required overtime compensation, according to the release.
Additionally, the company failed to include incentive pay in employees’ regular rates when computing overtime, and automatically deducted 30-minute meal periods regardless of whether employees received a break.
The health center also failed to maintain accurate records of hours worked, according to the Department of Labor.
“Residential caregivers work long hours and often make significant personal sacrifices to provide around-the-clock care for their clients,” George Victory, district director of the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus, said in the Labor Department statement. “These workers deserve to be paid properly.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.