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Wage Complaint Forwarded to Attorney General for Prosecution

Resurrection Health Care owes $381,000 in overtime pay to Home Health employees

CHICAGO, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After four years of appeals by Resurrection Health Care, the state Department of Labor has forwarded the wage complaint of employees in the health care chain's Home Health division to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution. The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) previously ruled that Resurrection Health Care owes $381,000 in back wages to 64 Home Health employees.

Home Health Services employees filed complaints with the IDOL in 2004 charging that the chain's "fee-for-visit" system consistently failed to pay them for hours worked beyond their normal schedule.

The IDOL agreed with the employees and cited Resurrection for violations of the state's wage and hour law regarding overtime pay. But RHC refused to adjust the employees' pay accordingly and instead spent nearly four years filing appeals.

With all appeals exhausted, Resurrection is still refusing to comply with the IDOL ruling, so the case has been turned over to the Attorney General for enforcement.

"This is a great victory for us and our patients," said Harald Anonsen, a Home Health Physical Therapist. "This decision makes it clear that Resurrection had a payment system in place that consistently did not compensate us for the work we performed."

Resurrection's latest appeal was based on whether the compliance officer should have reviewed "contradictory evidence" of phone and computer records during the audit and whether the audit should have included liaison nurses who formerly worked under the fee for visit system. The IDOL found that there was no basis for either contention, noting that the "obligation to create and maintain time records is [Resurrection Health Care's] duty" and that Resurrection "did not offer any type of evidence that the compliance officer including the nurse liaisons in the audit was incorrect."

"Resurrection Health Care's continued stalling tactics illustrate the lengths they are wiling to go to avoid paying these employees what the law requires," said Henry Bayer, executive director of AFSCME Council 31, which is working with employees at Resurrection hospitals who are seeking to form a union.

"It is appalling that the company consistently broke the law and failed to pay these workers what was owed to them. Hopefully RHC now will decide to comply with the law," he said.

Resurrection Health Care is the second-largest health care system in the Chicago metropolitan area and the largest Catholic health care system in Illinois.

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