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Federal investigation finds Dayton area home health care provider committed wage theft

Old location of Reliable Hone Health Care
Desmond Winton-Finklea
/
WYSO
Old location of Reliable Hone Health Care

A Dayton-based home health care provider was cited by the federal government for falsifying payroll records. Now, the U.S Department of Labor ordered the company to pay its workers over $100,000 in back wages.

A federal investigation from the wages and hours division found Reliable Home Health Providers LLC in Dayton committed fraud, according to a press release. The company provides nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, home healthcare and speech therapy services. It additionally has offices in Columbus and Cincinnati.

The company intentionally misclassified 63 office workers' and home health aides as independent contractors.That way, the company could avoid paying overtime wages — which is a federal law violation.

Scott Allen, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Labor said this type of fraud is all too common in the home health care industry.

“Throughout the country the wages and hours division finds that employers that haven't paid their employees properly,” Allen said. “It's a shame that these companies are shortchanging the most vulnerable workers.”

The investigation found the company falsified payroll records in an attempt to hide violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The healthcare industry is projected to grow by 16% by 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In a statement, Matthew Utley, the Wage and Hour Division District Director in Columbus, said employers must follow the law or face steep penalties.

“For a healthcare 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 said.

Home Health Providers could not be reached for comment at the time of this storys’ publication.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming