Business manager accuses company of manipulating time clock to avoid overtime pay

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 15, 2011, 3:24am

A business executive for a company that manages nursing homes and rehabilitation centers has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of misclassifing employees to avoid paying overtime compensation.

Claiming violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Karen Poole filed suit against GulfCoast LTC Partners Inc. and its related companies, Bobby J. Bergeron and Louis F. Nicholson on Feb. 9 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

At GulfCoast LTC Partners, Bergeron and Nicholson maintained a common management interrelation between operations, centralized control of labor relations and some common ownership and financial control for defendants

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of all people who were or are employed by the defendants as "hourly" within three years from the start of this lawsuit and have not been properly compensated for overtime.

Poole worked as the business manager from August 2006 until Feb. 9, 2011. She and other employees were misclassified as "salaried" when her job and the other employees' jobs did not qualify under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

She argues that the defendants were really hourly employees as defined under FLSA and were therefore entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

The defendants are also accused of forcing employees to work off the clock or reduced the hourly employees' hours, by changing the time clock computer program, to keep them from receiving overtime pay.

The other defendants are Alvarado LTC Partners Inc., Cambridge LTC Partners Inc., Groesbeck LTC Partners Inc., Hemphill LTC Partners Inc., Hughes Springs LTC Partners Inc., Lakeridge LTC Partners Inc., Mexia LTC Partners Inc., Mi Casita LTC Partners Inc., Park Plaza LTC Partners Inc., Travis Heights Healthcare Inc., Weimar Assisted Living Partners Inc., Weimar LTC Partners Inc., West Texas LTC Partners Inc. Defendant Gulf Coast maintained common management, interrelation between operations, centralized control of labor and a degree of common control with all other defendants.

The plaintiff is asking the court to issue an injunction against the defendant preventing further violations and for an award of damages for overtime compensation, court costs, interest attorney's fees and expert fees.

Poodle is represented by Scott C. Skelton of Zeleskey Law Firm in Lufkin.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00082

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