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The Department of Labor said Wednesday that a Pittsburgh home care agency will pay more than $1.4 million in back wages and damages to 218 workers for overtime violations.
The DOL said a consent order entered in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh requires Everest Home Care LLC and its owner, Bhuwan Acharya, to pay $719,962 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages plus $85,075 in civil penalties for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
DOL wage and hour division investigators determined the employer paid workers a straight-time hourly rate instead of the one-and-one-half rate required for hours over 40 in a work week, the department said in a statement.
The DOL said investigators found Everest tried to mask the wage theft by representing straight-time pay as overtime and failed to include recruitment commissions and hourly coronavirus hazard pay in employees’ rates of pay when calculating overtime.
Everest attorney Dane Steffenson, of Dane Law LLC in Atlanta, issued a statement that said in part, Everest Home Care and Mr. Acharya were forced to settle with the DOL “to avoid incurring even higher defense costs to defend against this action,” after already having incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in responding to an “overzealous” DOL.