Nursing Home Operator to Pay $1.1 Million to Settle Federal Charges of Labor Violations
Pleasant Care Corp., a La Canada-based nursing home operator, has agreed to pay $1.1 million in back wages and penalties to settle a federal complaint alleging labor violations, the Los Angeles Times reports. Officials from the Department of Labor announced yesterday that the company, which operates 32 nursing home facilities in California, agreed to pay $910,000 in unpaid minimum wages and overtime pay to 937 current and former employees, most of whom were cleaning crew, administrative staff and vocational nurses at its centers. Many of those workers, who typically earned about $7 to $10 an hour, worked up to 30 hours of overtime without being compensated with time-and-a-half pay as required by law, according to records from July 1999 to July 2001 that were reviewed by Labor Department investigators. About half of Pleasant Care facilities statewide exceeded the average number of complaints and deficiency findings last year, according to state health inspection reports. One Santa Cruz facility received 109 complaints and 84 deficiency findings, compared to a state average of five complaints and 16 deficiencies. Federal labor officials said the fines and wage recoveries "were among the largest for a single nursing home company." Jerry Hall, deputy regional director for the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco, said the findings were "somewhat symptomatic" of the industry, which the department has "put on [its] radar screen." Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said it was "unusual" for a skilled nursing facility to be fined so steeply for labor violations and called for an investigation by state health officials into whether the violations affected patient care (Lee, Los Angeles Times, 6/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.