KCK health-care provider ordered by judge to pay $440K in damages and unpaid wages

A Kansas City, Kansas health-care provider has been ordered to pay nearly $440,000 in back wages and damages after the U.S. Department of Labor brought a case to federal court seeking restitution for employees claiming to have been underpaid.

Best Choice Home Health Care Agency, Inc. agreed to the settlement, according to the ruling by Judge Holly Teeter in the U.S. District of Kansas. The company has 30 days to pay the settlement, according to the judge’s order.

A complaint was filed against the company by the U.S. Department of Labor in mid-June alleging the company violated federal labor laws. The company failed to pay certain employees the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour by not compensating workers for overtime since at least November 2015, the labor department said.

The Star called the company’s Kansas City, Kansas office seeking comment Friday afternoon. A man who worked with the company in administration but declined to give his name said the company has been in business for more than 20 years and is trusted in the community.

He said the settlement was agreed to because the company did not wish to spend time and money in federal court. And he denied the idea that the workers were underpaid, saying the company does not and has never “cheated” anyone.

More than 200 employees were awarded money for damages plus individual settlements based on back wages. Each employee is getting $500 in damages and individual payouts range from $22.08 to $13,417.48, court records show.

On its website, the company advertises several in-home care services for the elderly, physically disabled and brain-trauma survivors. It was established in 2001, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.

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