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jkiani22
jkiani22, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50
Experience:  Attorney
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I have a somewhat complex employment reimbursement question

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I have a somewhat complex employment reimbursement question that I will attempt to make as succinct as possible. I am a physical therapist that works for a small not for profit hospital company in California that includes 2 acute hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facility and a home health division. I have worked for this company for approx. 20 years.
I initially was employed as the therapy supervisor in 1995, after working in their facilities under a contracting company, I assisted the new Director in the taking of rehab services in house and opening an outpatient program. The supervisor position was a non-exempt hourly employee and I was compensated for all overtime hours and extra weekend work.
In 2000 I accepted the Director position which was a salaried position. Growth and staff shortages necessitated long hours as I continued to provide patient care along with admin duties of the position.The hospital did not fill my vacant supervisor position.
In 2005, a change in hospital leadership brought many changes with one being the assignment of a non rehab professional as director and I was placed in a new position titled clinical manager/supervisor to handle all patient care and needs that required an educated and licensed staff member. I was left as salaried employee with same base salary but lost many of the additional benefits given to Director positions. We unfortunately lost additional staff with these changes and workload only increased.
Leadership changed again and she recognized our tremendous growth and staffing challenges and decided to promote/hire two new clinical managers/supervisors and split our department into an outpatient, skilled nursing and acute hospital/home health sections. I maintained the hospital and home health section which was by far the largest in size with demands of 365 day coverage with staff shortages.
Primary focus was hospitals and the delay in seeing home health patient was quite long with our staff shortages. In 2010 I was approached by VP of extended care services which included home health and offered additional pay if I would work even more hours and see more home health patients. I did and was paid 306 hours in 2010 and 117 hours in 2011 at regular hourly rate above my regular salary. Then under new leadership again I was abruptly changed to hourly compensation in 3/2011 without explanation other than that was "supposed to be the way it is". I was also transferred out to home health division and removed as hospital supervisor. At this same time the VP of extended care services that had recruited me to home health was terminated. I have remained in home health and compensated hourly with overtime since this time. .
This remained until 12/12 when the company attempted to sell home health division and we were all given term papers. This fell through and we have all remained as employees. However, during this time in talking and looking at other job opportunities I was surprised to find that in 2008 when they split our rehab department and hired 2 additional clinical managers/supervisors they were both hired as hourly non-exempt employees off the same scale that my salary was based.
I decided to discuss this with HR specialist early this year. I presented the info as above in more detail and expressed that I felt I was wronged and errors were made, but also that I was not looking for some huge event. The HR specialist took the info and provided occasional contact through the Spring with updates that included she was talking with others and looking through payroll records. Then couple months went by without contact and no answer to my calls or E-mails. I finally was able to determine that she no longer was with the company and still do not know the story of her leaving. I have since discussed with other HR staff and generally have been passed around, patronized at times and occasionally ignored. It is becoming quite obvious that they have no intention to make this right and actually seems more apparent the efforts they have made to cover this up is possible, even to the point I do have some fear for my job.
So my real question is what would I do if I decide to take this further, and what to do with the issues of being erroneously left salaried from 2008-2011 and the way they had me work additional hours at regular pay as essentially a bribe to work even more hours and provide more revenue generating patient treatments. Any info and guidance would be appreciated.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  jkiani22 replied 8 months ago.

jkiani22 :

Thank you for your question. I will do my best to answer your question, but I will first need to ask some preliminary, factual questions. Okay?

Customer:

Yes

jkiani22 :

1. What is your goal? What do you seek to achieve, in other words?

jkiani22 :

2. Have you considered filing a wage claim? Is your question asking about your available legal remedies? Is that what you want to know?

Customer:

I think an acknowledgement that errors were made and a reasonable attempt to have appropriate compensation. I am looking for guidance on my options of filing a claim, how that is done, time frames and what to expect. Not looking for attempt to recover every dime of what I likely missed but something to make me feel like it is right. Hope that makes sense.

Customer:

I believe the original errors were honestly made but feel the new management were not even around when we developed our department and worked so very hard and now are just looking to cover it up and make it go away.

jkiani22 :

Okay, thank you. XXXXX can advise you about possible remedies and legal action,

jkiani22 :

I think your best course of action would be to file an administrative claim with the Labor Commissioner and the DLSE.

jkiani22 :

You need to file a wage claim seeking damages for wage and hour law violations.

jkiani22 :

A DLSE hearing representative will be the third party neutral who will render a decision, but there will most likely be an opportunity to mediate the matter before the final hearing.

Customer:

Do I do that online on my own or need a lawyer?

jkiani22 :

You can do it on your own, or you can hire a lawyer to represent you. I have represented claimants in countless DLSE wage claim matters.

jkiani22 :

You can find more information about wage claims and the process on my website: www.kianilaw.com

Customer:

Is there time limits with some of this going back to 2008? Has their tactics of stringing me along for the past 9 months in my attempt to have a friendly fix been harmful?

jkiani22 :

The statute of limitations on wage claims is three years

jkiani22 :

If you file a lawsuit, you can tack on an Unfair Competition claim, which will extend the statute of limitations to 4 years on all claims, including wage claims.

jkiani22 :

You may not do this if you simply file a wage claim at the DLSE, as they will not adjudicate an Unfair Competition claim.

Customer:

Would your recommendation be to file a claim at this point

Customer:

Is the labor commission the same as the fair labor board that I have others tell me about?

jkiani22 :

Yes, based on the facts you have recounted here, you should file a wage claim if your goal is to obtain a remedy in a relatively expedited fashion.

Customer:

Is there info on your website that would guide me through the process or do I just go to the labor commission website? What is the DLSE

jkiani22, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 50
Experience: Attorney
jkiani22 and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  jkiani22 replied 8 months ago.
I am just checking in to see if you had any additional questions?

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