DAYTON, Ohio (July 12, 2022)—A federal investigation has recovered $133,661 in back wages for 63 workers of a Dayton home health care provider who misclassified its employees as independent contractors, denied workers overtime pay and falsified payroll records to hide the violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined Reliable Home Health Care LLC and its owner, Sheikuna Omar, misclassified office staff and home health aides as independent contractors. The employer then paid workers straight time for hours over 40 in a workweek, a violation of federal law. The division’s investigation disclosed the firm falsified their payroll records in an attempt to hide their violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  

“Reliable Home Health Care workers provided around-the-clock, daily living assistance and delivered essential care to people in need, yet their employer denied workers their earned overtime wages and then falsified records to create an appearance of compliance with the law,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Matthew.

“Misclassification of employees as independent contractors and overtime violations are all too common in the home health care industry. The U.S. Department of Labor will protect the rights of workers who commit themselves to the care of others and ensure they are paid all their legally earned wages so they, in turn, can take care of themselves and their families,” Utley said.

Based in Dayton, Reliable Home Health Care provides skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, home health care and speech therapy services. The company also operates offices in Columbus and Cincinnati.

In May 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the 717,000 health care and social services workers left their positions and the field had more than 2 million openings. As the aging U.S. population grows and demand for home health care services increases, employment in a variety of health care sectors is projected to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030—faster than the average for all occupations—adding about 2.6 million new jobs.

“For a health care employer to succeed in this competitive industry they must recruit and retain qualified workers. When workers are not paid their full wages, they may look elsewhere for employment,” Utley added.