Kindred Healthcare employee seeks overtime pay in suit

By Kelly Holleran | May 4, 2011

A New Jersey woman has filed suit against her former employer, alleging she was not paid more than 10 years worth of overtime pay.

Christina Acevedo claims she began performing clerical duties for defendants Kindred Healthcare and Kindred Hospitals in Philadelphia in 1998. As part of her job duties, Acevedo entered data, gave tours to patients and scanned and filed documents, according to the complaint filed May 2 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Initially, when Acevedo was hired, she was informed she was considered an exempt employee and would not receive overtime pay for any hours more than 40 she worked per week, the suit states.

However, in 2007, Kindred reversed Acevedo’s status as an exempt employee and began paying her overtime, saying she performed duties that should be compensated with overtime pay, the complaint says.

Acevedo claims she received an additional $20,000 per year after her status was changed to non-exempt.

After one year of receiving pay as a non-exempt employee, Acevedo found out that Kindred was returning her to exempt status, according to the complaint.

“Defendants reclassified Plaintiff solely to save money on overtime compensation which was provided to Plaintiff while she was classified non-exempt,” the suit states. “Following Defendants reclassifying Plaintiff as ‘exempt,’ Defendants increased the workload to Plaintiff thereby forcing Plaintiff to work even more hours per week (but not paying her any additional compensation for same).”

In her complaint, Acevedo wants to be reimbursed for overtime hours she worked but was not compensated for. These include the nine years she worked as an exempt employee before her change in 2007 and for the years following 2007 that she worked as an exempt employee, the suit states.

In addition to Kindred, Acevedo names Kindred officer Peggy Murphy as a defendant, saying she was responsible for compensating Acevedo.

Acevedo alleges Kindred and Murphy violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay her 1.5 times her pay for overtime hours worked and by failing to use proper record keeping to ensure she was paid for every hour she worked. In addition, Kindred and Murphy violated the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Payment Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment Collection Law, the complaint says.

In addition to the money she seeks, Acevedo wants the court to prohibit Kindred from continuing to violate federal and state laws and seeks liquidated damages, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Acevedo will be represented by Justin L. Swidler and Richard S. Swartz of Swartz Swidler in Cherry Hill.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:11-cv-2902.

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