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United States Department of Labor Sues Staffing Agency for Misclassifying Healthcare Workers as Independent Contractors 

The United States Department of Labor announced a lawsuit against a staffing agency for misclassifying registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants as independent contractors.

Employers:    NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC

    Kwame Adjekum

Actions:          Fair Labor Standards Act complaint filing

Courts:           U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division

Investigation findings: On Feb. 7, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois seeking a total of $140,976 ‒ representing $70,488 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages ‒ for 41 people employed by NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC of Rockford, Illinois.

An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division alleged NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC misclassified its employees – registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants – as independent contractors and, therefore, failed to pay them overtime at time and one-half their hourly rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The company also failed to make and maintain complete and accurate time and pay records that indicated actual work hours and earned wages on a weekly basis for all employees, all of which violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The suit also names the company’s manager, Kwame Adjekum, who is responsible for daily operations, including setting schedules and pay rates and hiring and firing employees.

Quote: “When employers misclassify workers as independent contractors, they deny them wages due under the Fair Labor Standards Act – such as overtime – and fail to pay employment taxes or workers’ compensation on their behalf,” explained Wage and Hour District Director Tom Gauza in Chicago. “There are clear conditions that must be met for an individual to be classified as an independent contractor. Employers or workers with questions about whether they are independent contractors or employees should contact the Wage and Hour Division for guidance.”

“This case demonstrates the U.S. Department of Labor’s ongoing commitment to ensuring workers receive their rightfully earned pay by using all legal tools available,” added Regional Solicitor Christine Heri in Chicago.

Background: 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 and how to file an online complaint, including if you think you are misclassified as an independent contractor. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.

Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

U.S. Department of Labor v. NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC

Civil Action No. 3:24-cv-50063

Source: US Department of Labor suit seeks $140K in back wages, damages for Rockford healthcare workers misclassified as independent contractors | U.S. Department of Labor

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