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Texas: Hospital to Pay More than $4M in Back Wages, Liquidated Damages

By SHRM Online staff  9/18/2013
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Harris County Hospital District, doing business as Harris Health System in Houston, has agreed to pay more than $4 million in back wages and liquidated damages to 4,573 technicians and current and former nurses after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions.

An investigation conducted by the division’s Houston District Office found that Harris Health System did not include the workers’ incentive pay when calculating overtime premiums. Because of that, Harris Health System failed to pay workers the correct overtime rate when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Additionally, the employer failed to maintain proper records of weekly hours worked by some of its employees.

The affected employees worked as nurses, lab technicians, respiratory care practitioners, X-ray technicians, medical technologists, registered pharmacy technicians, eligibility auditors and security officers.

“The investigation by the department revealed systemic wage violations throughout Harris Health System’s 46 locations,” said Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrator for the Southwest.

Harris Health System provides emergency, outpatient and inpatient medical and health care services in the Houston area. The company has agreed to set up measures to comply fully with the FLSA in the future. Payment of back wages and liquidated damages is ongoing.

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