On September 3, 2019, Whiteman Law Firm filed a lawsuit against The Bruson Group, Inc. and two of its controlling officers. The suit was brought on behalf of four former employees who were denied overtime pay and other compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The plaintiffs worked as caregivers in three residential treatment facilities operated by The Bruson Group. The group homes provide residential living, behavioral therapy, and psychiatric care to teenagers who have mental illnesses and/or behavioral problems. Plaintiffs, who were paid on an hourly basis, typically worked 50 to 75 hours per week but were not paid overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.
The complaint alleges that in 2013 The Bruson Group was cited for similar wage and hour violations by the United States Department of Labor and were required to pay back wages to some of its employees. However, after the Department of Labor’s investigation concluded, The Bruson Group soon reverted to the former practice of failing to pay all wages and overtime owed to their employees. The complaint alleges that the defendants knew that the FLSA and the NCWHA required them to pay their employees overtime pay, but instead of complying with the law defendants failed to pay plaintiffs overtime pay for all overtime hours worked; implemented payroll practices that were designed to conceal their illegal activity from regulators, auditors, and taxing authorities; and failed to make federal and state payroll tax payments on wage payments made outside the payroll system.
Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated 29 U.S.C. § 207 of the FLSA and section 95-25.4 of the NCWHA by refusing to compensate them for hours they worked in excess of forty hours in a workweek at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their hourly rate per hour. Plaintiffs further alleged that defendants violated sections 95-25.6 and -25.7 of the NCWHA by failing to pay plaintiffs all wages earned. Plaintiffs requested the court to order defendants to pay them their unpaid wages, an equal amount of liquidated damages, and an award of attorney’s fee and costs.
© Andrew Whiteman 2019