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June 17, 2002
CA Nursing Homes Hit With Steep Fines
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operator of more than three dozen nursing homes in California has agreed to pay $1.1 million in back wages and penalties to settle a federal complaint alleging labor violations involving hundreds of workers.

Labor Department officials told the Los Angeles Times last week that La Canada, Calif.-based Pleasant Care Corp. and its subsidiaries will provide $910,000 in unpaid minimum wages and overtime pay to 937 current and former employees. Some of the penalties were assessed for violating child-labor laws and record-keeping rules.

Officials said the fines and wage recoveries were among the largest for a single nursing home company.

According to state health inspection records obtained by the Times, about half of Pleasant Care's 32 facilities in California exceeded the average number of complaints and deficiencies found for nursing homes in the state. One Pleasant Care facility in Santa Cruz last year received 109 complaints and state officials recorded 84 deficiencies.

Labor officials said most of the Pleasant Care workers who were shortchanged were cleaning crew, administrative staff and licensed vocational nurses.

Some workers, officials said, put in as many as 30 hours of overtime without receiving the time-and-half wages as required by law. Investigators reviewed labor records from July 1999 to July 2001.

Officials said Pleasant Care also was fined for allowing two 15-year-old students to put in excessive hours and another 15-year-old to work in the kitchen.


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