A U.S. Department of Labor investigation has recovered $97,209 in back wages for 41 emergency service workers after finding a Sanford healthcare center denied them federally required overtime.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that LifePoint-Central Carolina Hospital used timekeeping software that automatically deducted meal periods from employee workhours in its emergency department – the Central Carolina Hospital EMS – after an employee worked a specific number of hours. The employer failed to relieve many of the emergency service workers of all work duties during periods designated as “meals”. When this time – added to the employee’s other work hours – exceeded 40 hours in a workweek, the employees were entitled to overtime compensation. As a result, LifePoint failed to pay additional overtime owed to these employees.
“Workers have a right to receive all the wages they earn,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Employers need to ensure all recordkeeping tools that make automatic deductions for meals are accurate and that they can override the system and input accurate information when meal periods are missed. Otherwise, those companies could face consequences, including costly repayment of wages and difficulty in retaining or recruiting workers who choose employment with organizations that are vigilant about workers’ rights.”
In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered more than $230 million in back wages for more than 190,000 workers, which includes nearly $126 million for workers in low-wage industries including food services, agriculture, healthcare, construction and retail.
Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, LifePoint Healthcare has operations in 29 states, providing health, emergency medical services and transportation.