The United States Department of Labor announced that a medical staffing agency was required to pay $7.2 million in wages and damages to nurses and aides who were misclassified as independent contractors.
NORFOLK, VA – A federal court in Virginia has entered a judgment ordering a Norfolk-based medical staffing agency, which intentionally violated federal laws and denied 1,105 certified nursing aides, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses their rightfully earned overtime wages, to pay more than $7.2 million in back wages and liquidated damages.
The judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia-Norfolk Division requires Medical Staffing of America LLC – doing business as Steadfast Medical Staffing –to pay at least $3,619,716 in back wages and at least $3,619,716 in liquidated damages to 1,105 employees. The court ordered the department’s Solicitor of Labor to update the back wages to the present, which will likely increase the back wages and liquidated damages amounts substantially. The action follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and litigation by the Solicitor of Labor.
“When employers misclassify employees as independent contractors and fail to pay workers their hard-earned wages, the U.S. Department of Labor will hold them legally accountable,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “In this case, Medical Staffing of America LLC willfully violated the law and shortchanged more than 1,100 aides and nurses of their rightful wages. The court’s judgement means we can finally recover these essential workers’ wages.”
The division’s investigation determined that since at least Aug. 18, 2015, the employer misclassified the aides and nurses as independent contractors willfully. By misclassifying the workers, the medical staffing agency paid them straight-time wages instead of time-and-a-half when they worked over 40 in a workweek. Steadfast Medical Staffing also failed to maintain accurate records of total weekly hours worked. Both actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“The court sent an unequivocal message to Steadfast and other healthcare industry employers that the Solicitor of Labor and the Wage and Hour Division will work together to recover stolen wages when employers violate the law,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “The U.S. Department of Labor will not hesitate to bring legal action, pursuing all available remedies, when it finds that an employer has willfully violated the law.”
The court’s decision ends litigation filed in 2018 by the department after Steadfast Medical Staffing refused to pay back wages owed, and come into compliance after the investigation.
Based in Norfolk, Steadfast Medical Staffing is a healthcare industry employment agency serving healthcare facilities nationwide by providing independent medical personnel.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. The division protects workers regardless of immigration status, and can communicate with workers in more than 200 languages.