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January 21, 2004
Nurses Get Back Overtime Wages after Signing Waiver

CritiCare L.L.C. of Wayne, New Jersey, has agreed to pay 36 of its registered nurses $218,959 in overtime back pay to settle allegations that the company violated the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The nurses were assigned to work at area hospitals in New York and New Jersey.

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Investigators from Wage and Hour Division say that the registered nurses were paid straight time for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Investigators also say that the firm required the nurses to sign waivers that relieved the company of the obligation to pay them overtime. The department says language of FLSA and court decisions make clear that covered employees cannot waive their statutory right to overtime pay.

Once the department notified the company that the waivers were invalid, the company agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation, comply in the future, and pay back wages covering a two-year period of time, according to the department.

The Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $212 million in back wages in fiscal year 2003--a 21 percent increase over the record-setting amount in 2002.

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