The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

November 28, 2012

Golden LivingCenters facing potential collective action over wages

TARBORO — With less than a week to go before asking a U.S. District Court judge to certify a collective action and order a class-wide notice under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a Missouri law firm is working to contact current and former employees of Golden LivingCenters.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC — which filed the suit last April 12 — is running an ad in The Daily Southerner today in which current and former Golden LivingCenters employees are asked to make contact regarding the action. The ad is running in a number of North Carolina newspapers and was placed through the North Carolina Press Association.

Tracey George, an attorney with the firm, said the class action is to recover wages for off-the-clock work performed by Golden LivingCenters hourly employees.

“Golden Living has a policy of requiring work during unpaid meal breaks,” George said in a written statement. “Employees are required to clock out for thirty-minute meal breaks.  However,

Golden Living staffs the facilities so short, many employees are called back to the floor to assist residents and complete work before the end of their break (assuming they get to take a break at all).  (The) GL (Golden Living) time clock system blocks employees from clocking back in sooner than 30 minutes, so much of this work is performed off-the-clock. We believe Golden Living is fully

aware of the unlawful impact of its policies and short staffing.  We also believe Golden Living's rounding policy most frequently works to the detriment of its employees by rounding away time worked.”

George said there was a timeline regarding eligibility to opt in to the action.

“All employees who worked at Golden Living at any time during the last three years are eligible to join,” she George. “They simply need to contact me to request the opt-in forms.  We will ask the Court, on December 5th, to conditionally certify this collective action and order class-wide notice under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).”

A collective action shares some characteristics with class actions, but are not the same, according to the website Lawyers.com. In FLSA cases, an employee must opt in, meaning they must sign a document stating that they wish to be pat of the lawsuit.

Bobbie J. Jarrett, an employee of Golden LivingCenter-Jefferson City, Mo, initially filed the action last April 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District Central Division of Missouri.

Golden Living’s corporate headquarters are in Plano, Texas while the company’s administrative offices are in Fort Smith, Ark. According to the company’s corporate web site, it has more than 300 LivingCenter locations in 21 states, including Golden LivingCenter-Tarboro at 1000 Western Blvd.

On Aug. 23, the local facility was awarded with the company’s 14-Karat Award.

Only 10 of the company’s nursing homes received the 14-Karat Award in recognition of delivering quality care and services to its residence in an exemplary manner.

 

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