Nurses Allege Violations of California Labor Laws
According to ABS-CBN News (5/17/13), nurses at Bellflower Medical Center in California allege they have had their pay days moved around and have been given paychecks that bounced when they cashed them. One employee says that since January 11, multiple checks have bounced, sometimes repeatedly, leaving employees without pay owed them for hours worked.
The same medical center was reportedly involved in a settlement with the federal government, after it was accused of fraudulently charging Medicare for fake procedures. Meanwhile, the California Department of Labor Relations fined the medical center $7 million for paying employees late and bouncing checks.
According to a news release from the California Department of Labor Relations (online at dir.ca.gov; 3/14/13), Pacific Health Corporation was cited $524,300 for late payments to employees and for bouncing checks. The company, which owns four medical centers in California, including Bellflower, was also cited more than $6.5 million for not providing complete and accurate itemized wage statements to employees.
“Employers have an obligation to pay workers the wages they’ve earned,” said California Department of Industrial Relations Director Christine Baker. “Forcing employees to wait for payment, or depriving them of promised benefits, are illegal acts and cause unacceptable hardship.”
The news release notes that Bellflower Medical Center was told that it would face further civil penalties if it continued to violate labor laws. In February 2013, the department received reports of delayed wages and insufficient funds for checks. On investigation, the department allegedly also found employee benefits were deducted from paychecks but not paid, resulting in coverage being canceled.
As a result, the department fined Bellflower $7 million.