Pleasant Run-based Hamilton Avenue Animal Hospital faces a wage-and-hour lawsuit after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found the owners forced employees to pay back overtime they had received.
The hospital is currently operating under a court injunction to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act after it failed to properly pay 19 employees in 2007. The DOL is suing to collect the final $9,225 due on that settlement.
Perhaps due to the heightened scrutiny, the hospital did pay overtime to employees. But the DOL lawsuit says the owners promptly turned around and told workers to pay them back—in cash.
Most of the 21 employees identified in the new lawsuit speak little English and many live on the animal hospital grounds.
In all, the DOL says it uncovered $42,629 in overtime pay owed to the workers.
If found liable, the animal hospital will be on the hook for double that amount, since the violation obviously would have been willful.
Note: The DOL is stepping up wage-and-hour investigations. Employers with a history of violations will have little defense and nowhere to hide.