A Florida continuing care retirement community has agreed to pay $181,663 in back wages to 454 employees who were involved in the evacuation and subsequent care of residents during and immediately after Hurricane Irma.
Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg, FL, according to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying the workers for all of their hours when they worked 24-hour shifts without sleep.
“When Hurricane Irma hit, our communities evacuated thousands of residents and employees. We are proud of our dedicated team members who served throughout to provide excellent care for our residents,” Mary Klein, vice president of human resources for the community’s parent company, Westminster Communities of Florida, told McKnight’s Senior Living. “We regret that amid this challenging time, we didn’t meet the Department of Labor’s interpretations. Now that we have reached a settlement, we are pleased to put this matter behind us while we continue to serve our residents.”
Wage and Hour Division investigators also said they found overtime violations at 19 Westminster Communities of Florida locations. Specifically, according to the division, the organization did not include some bonus payments made to marketing and activities employees when calculating overtime pay rates, which resulted in rates being lower than what the law requires. Additionally, the company’s exclusion of travel time from some workers’ hours created additional overtime violations, the division said.