More Than $4 Million to be Paid in Back Wages by Hospital for Overtime and Record-Keeping Violations

Friday, September 20, 2013
Harris County Hospital District, doing business as Harris Health System in Houston, has agreed to pay more than $4 million in back wages and liquidated damages to 4,573 technicians and current and former nurses after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions.

An investigation conducted by the division’s Houston District Office found that Harris Health System did not include the workers’ incentive pay when calculating overtime premiums. Because of that, Harris Health System failed to pay workers the correct overtime rate when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Additionally, the employer failed to maintain proper records of weekly hours worked by some of its employees.

The affected employees worked as nurses, lab technicians, respiratory care practitioners, X-ray technicians, medical technologists, registered pharmacy technicians, eligibility auditors and security officers.

Harris Health System provides emergency, outpatient and inpatient medical and health care services in the Houston area. The company has agreed to set up measures to comply fully with the FLSA in the future. Payment of back wages and liquidated damages is ongoing.

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. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees
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