The United States Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit demanding $140,000 in unpaid wages and compensatory damages on behalf of healthcare employees in Rockford who were incorrectly categorized as independent contractors.

Employer: NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC
Action: Filing a Complaint under the Fair Labor Standards Act
Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division
Investigation Findings: On February 7, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC of Rockford, Illinois. The complaint seeks a total of $140,976 in back wages and liquidated damages for 41 employees who were misclassified as independent contractors and denied overtime pay.

The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor conducted an investigation and found that NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC had misclassified its employees, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants, as independent contractors. This resulted in the company failing to pay them overtime at the required rate of time and one-half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Additionally, the company failed to maintain accurate records of employees’ work hours and wages, which is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The complaint also names the company’s manager, Kwame Adjekum, who is responsible for daily operations and decisions such as setting schedules, determining pay rates, and hiring and firing employees.

In the words of Wage and Hour District Director Tom Gauza in Chicago, “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.” He also emphasized that there are specific criteria that must be met for an individual to be classified as an independent contractor, and employers or workers with questions should seek guidance from the Wage and Hour Division.

Regional Solicitor Christine Heri in Chicago added, “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.”

For more information about the Wage and Hour Division and how to file a complaint, including if you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, visit their website. Employees and employers can also call the agency’s toll-free helpline for confidential compliance assistance.

The case is U.S. Department of Labor v. NurseRight Staffing Agency LLC, Civil Action No. 3:24-cv-50063. The Department of Labor encourages individuals to download their Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices to ensure accurate recording of work hours and pay. The app is also available in Spanish.  

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