$244,341 in Back Wages Who Were Not Paid Appropriate Overtime Wages

Monday, October 17, 2011

Health Management Associates Inc., which operates Midwest Regional Medical Center in Oklahoma City, has paid $244,341 in overtime back wages to 1,064 current and former registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified medical assistants. The payments follow an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act’s overtime and record-keeping violations.

“Workers in the health care industry are entrusted to take care of the sick and injured, which can be both demanding and stressful,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The Department of Labor will use all available tools to ensure that they receive full and fair compensation for all hours worked, in accordance with protections guaranteed under the law.”

The Wage and Hour Division’s Oklahoma City District Office found that the medical center made deductions for lunch breaks, even when employees did not take an uninterrupted lunch. Consequently, some employees worked more than 40 hours in a week without proper overtime pay. Additionally, required record keeping was not maintained.

Health Management Associates Inc., with a home office in Naples, Fla., operates more than 50 hospitals and 400 health clinics in 15 states. Two of those hospitals and 25 of the clinics are in Oklahoma. The company cooperated with the investigation and agreed both to pay the back wages in full and comply with the FLSA in the future.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.

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