Norfolk-based staffing agency ordered to pay over $7.2M in back wages, damages

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-06 17:18:29-05

NORFOLK, Va. - A judge has ordered a Norfolk-based staffing agency to pay more than $7 million in back wages and damages.

A federal court entered a judgment ordering Medical Staffing of America LLC to pay more than $7.2 million after being found guilty of intentionally violating federal laws and denying 1,105 certified nursing aides, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses their rightfully earned overtime wages.

Medical Staffing of America LLC – doing business as Steadfast Medical Staffing, must pay at least $3,619,716 in back wages and at least $3,619,716 in liquidated damages to 1,105 employees.

This order follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and litigation by the Solicitor of Labor.

According to the investigation, the staffing agency wrongly classified its employees as independent contractors since at least August 18, 2015.

“When employers misclassify employees as independent contractors and fail to pay workers their hard-earned wages, the U.S. Department of Labor will hold them legally accountable,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “In this case, Medical Staffing of America LLC willfully violated the law and shortchanged more than 1,100 aides and nurses of their rightful wages. The court’s judgement means we can finally recover these essential workers’ wages.”

By misclassifying the workers, officials say the medical staffing agency paid them straight-time wages instead of time-and-a-half when they worked overtime. They also say the agency failed to maintain accurate records of total weekly hours worked. Both actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The court sent an unequivocal message to Steadfast and other healthcare industry employers that the Solicitor of Labor and the Wage and Hour Division will work together to recover stolen wages when employers violate the law,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “The U.S. Department of Labor will not hesitate to bring legal action, pursuing all available remedies, when it finds that an employer has willfully violated the law.”

To view the complaint filed in 2018, the complaint filed in 2019, and the court’s memorandum opinion and order.