Judge orders nursing home staffing agency to pay up
Broadway Healthcare Management owner Michael Konig was found in contempt of court of a 2009 judgment, failing to pay $636,410 in denied overtime pay plus interest to at least 150 direct care staff in 10 nursing homes, including Sterling Manor on North Fork Landing Road.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the Hackensack staffing agency stiffed workers out of overtime pay, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, stemming from an investigation in 2008 that led to a consent judgment.
Despite the judgment to pay up, Broadway Healthcare and Konig made no attempt to comply, according to Mark Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division.
"As a result, hundreds of workers who devoted themselves to caring for loved ones were not paid the overtime they earned,” Watson said. “The court’s decision sends a strong message to employers: When they fail to pay workers their hard-earned wages, and when they don’t take consent judgments seriously, we will use all available legal means to hold them accountable.”
During subsequent investigations, the division found that Broadway Healthcare violated labor laws and the earlier consent judgment when it contracted with payroll company Prime Services/D.S. Inc., of Brooklyn, New York, to avoid paying overtime wages.
Investigators found that nurses employed at nine of the 10 New Jersey locations received separate paychecks for overtime workweeks — one from Broadway and one from Prime Services — neither of which included legally due overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Prime Services did not actually employ any of the affected workers.
Broadway failed to pay nursing staff for certain hours worked beyond their shift and did not include shift differentials and bonuses in employees’ regular rates when computing overtime pay.
Broadway also failed to pay nursing staff for certain hours worked beyond the end of their shifts. Additionally, the employer failed to include shift differentials and bonuses in employees’ regular rates when computing overtime pay. The department filed a motion for a back wage award in August.
Federal law requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour 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 also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
Employers who violate the law are liable for not only back wages but also an equal amount in damages. In addition to the back wages, Broadway Healthcare Management was ordered to pay $97,388 to reimburse the department for investigation and legal costs.
In addition to Sterling Manor, the investigation identified violations at the following locations:
Manhattanview Nursing Home, Union City Teaneck Nursing Center, Teaneck Amboy Care Center, Perth Amboy Providence Nursing Center and Royal Health Gate, Trenton Oceana Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Cape May Shore Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Toms River South Jersey Extended Care, Bridgeton and Manahawkin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Manahawkin.
Credit: Todd McHale, Burlington County Times