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By Tim McGlone
The Virginian-Pilot
© October 15, 2014

 

The Department of Labor has sued a Virginia Beach home health care provider and its owner over allegations that the company failed to pay its nurses overtime during the past three years.

 

The suit says that HPR Medical Services failed to pay overtime to at least two dozen registered nurses and licensed practical nurses since February 2011. Company owner Renee McCrae is named as a defendant as well.

 

The company improperly labeled those workers as independent contractors, something the department warned McCrae not to do in 2007, according to the suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

 

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of overtime pay for the nurses, who provide care both in private residences and at some nursing homes and who routinely worked more than 40 hours a week.

 

McCrae, through an employee, referred questions to company attorney Barry Taylor. He is out of the country this week, his assistant said.

 

The Department of Labor has been on an aggressive campaign to ensure that most categories of home health care workers, including certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, caregivers and companions, get paid at least minimum wage and overtime benefits. Nurses have already been subject to the rule.

 

In 2013, the department filed a record number of Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits, beating the record set the previous year, according to Federal Judiciary statistics.

 

A department spokeswoman would not comment on why this investigation was initiated.

 

Tim McGlone, 757-446-2343, tim.mcglone@pilotonline.com