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March 31, 2003
LSU Hospitals to Pay Nearly $400K in Back Wages
LSU Health Sciences Center of Baton Rouge, La., has agreed to pay $396,997 in back overtime wages to 496 workers employed at nine hospitals throughout Louisiana.

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"At a time when our country's health care delivery system faces a critical worker shortage, it is more important than ever to protect these workers' wages," says U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

The back wages resulted from an investigation conducted by the New Orleans district office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division covering the period January 2000 to June 2002.

The investigation found the LSU Health Sciences Center violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at nine of its hospitals. The FLSA requires employers to pay time-and-one-half to covered employees for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.

LSU misclassified certain salaried employees as exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA, according to the Labor Department. The misclassified employees included medical, cafeteria, maintenance, security and office personnel.

Employees were either paid straight time for overtime hours worked or credited with compensatory time at the ratio of one hour of compensatory time for every hour of overtime worked instead of being paid time-and-one-half for overtime hours worked.

In addition, some employees paid on an hourly basis worked in excess of 40 hours per week and were paid straight time for overtime hours instead of the required time-and-one-half.

The university was also assessed a civil money penalty of $8,250 for violating the law for a second time. LSU paid $29,093 in back overtime wages to 22 workers as a result of a two-year investigation from December 1996 to December 1998.

LSU has come into compliance with the FLSA and has begun to pay the back wages, according to the department.


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