Got some bad news the other day about the nonprofit organization Aloha House Maui, which does substance abuse treatment and also operates under the name Maui Behavioral Health Resources. It seems there was a problem with their paying overtime wages to their employees, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is none too pleased.
“Aloha House, a mental health service provider and substance abuse treatment center, paid for overtime hours worked by several of its behavior health services employees at time and a half the federal minimum wage of $7.25 rather than time and a half the employees’ regular hourly rates, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act,” stated a July 22 news release from the DOL. “Overtime pay is due for hours worked beyond forty in a workweek, and must be one and one-half times the regular hourly rate of pay a worker receives.”
To resolve the issue, Aloha House agreed to pay $17,556 to 19 employees whose wages were in violation of the FLSA, according to the July 22 DOL news release. Aloha House will also pay its employees another $17,556 in damages and a $9,900 fine, states the DOL.
“Employers cannot undermine the integrity of the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements by artificially lowering workers’ rates for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek,” said Terence Trotter, director of the Wage and Hour District Office in Honolulu, in the news release.
For its part, Aloha House CEO Jud Cunningham said that his organization had made an “error” in determining proper wages as according to U.S. labor law.
“Aloha House would like to express appreciation to the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division staff for their professionalism and assistance in correcting the method in which we formerly calculated overtime hours for certain employees of the agency,” said Cunningham in a statement released a few hours after the DOL news release. “The calculations were made in error and were in no way an indication of intent on our part to undermine the integrity of the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements or treat employees unfairly.”