281,870 reasons not to attempt a kickback scheme to avoid paying overtime


It’s not often that I attempt to locate images for blog posts using ‘kickback’ as a search term.

But when I do, rest assured that some employer really stepped in it.

Last year, I wrote about a home healthcare agency that allegedly retaliated against employees for cooperating with a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation and demanded kickbacks of back wages from its employees.

Pretty stupid, huh? No employer would be dumb enough to…

***checks notes***

A few weeks ago, a federal court ordered another employer to pay a total of $281,870 after the DOL found the employer engaged in a kickback scheme after the department recovered more than $94,135 in overtime wages for 70 workers in 2020, following a DOL investigation that found that the company and its owner denied its employees overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek.

According to the DOL, “after the investigation, the employers agreed to pay the overtime back wages. Shortly thereafter, they began demanding kickbacks from its employees, submitted false receipts showing that it paid the recovered wages and threatened workers for exercising their labor rights.”

After the ‘gotcha!,’ a consent judgment and order followed on Oct. 11, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, requiring the employers to pay the remaining $87,735 in back wages. The court also ordered the company to pay the workers $94,135 in liquidated damages and an additional $100,000 in punitive damages.

The DOL described the kickback scheme as “intolerable and illegal” retaliation, “among the most egregious types of retaliation” it sees.

Hey! It’s not uncommon for the DOL to investigate an employer and uncover wage and hour violations. These things happen.

But doubling down by threatening workers and implementing an illegal kickback scheme is stupider than stupid stupid.


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