Assisted living chain on hook for overtime for 72 employees

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The owners of 10 California assisted living communities have agreed to pay $173,539 in previously unpaid overtime pay to 72 employees, the Department of Labor announced Friday.

Investigators with the department's wage and hour division found that the owners of Verona Court, which operates residential care facilities for the elderly in Mission Hills and Laguna Niguel, CA, did not pay employees for time spent working through lunch breaks and attending mandatory training, according to the department. Verona Court also reportedly paid the regular pay rate for overtime hours instead of the federally required time-and-a-half for hours employees worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Additionally, investigators said they found recordkeeping violations involving inaccurate and incomplete timesheets and payroll records and a lack of records of cash payments.

Verona Court operates six facilities incorporated as Mission Elder Care and four facilities incorporated as Laguna Elder Care, the Labor Department said.

“Verona Court disputed the majority of the positions taken by the DOL,” attorney Summer Young-Agriest said in a statement to the Orange County Register on behalf of company owners Tarek El Nabli and Arda Kardjian. Young-Agriest did not respond to a request for comment from McKnight's Senior Living by the publication deadline.

“We had several legal defenses, however, agreed to pay back wages in an effort to put the investigation behind us,” she added. “Verona Court cares deeply about its employees — the company's most important assets — and we are proud of the exceptional residential home care opportunities that we have provided for our employees.”

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