California-based Community Hospice, Inc. recently responded to allegations of millions in unpaid staff hours.
Current and former employees of the nonprofit hospice organization filed a $5 million lawsuit in April for unpaid wages during the pandemic.
“Community Hospice is aware of the filing of a class action lawsuit made by the plaintiff, a prior employee,” the organization’s legal team indicated in a recent statement. “The health and safety of our employees is of the utmost importance, and we work diligently to ensure legal, ethical, and safe practices for all our employees.”
Established in 1979, the nonprofit organization provides hospice and palliative care in three counties near the San Francisco area of northern California.
The hospice company is accused of violating the California Labor Code that stipulates employers must provide sick leave to workers. In the recently filed class action complaint, the workers alleged that the hospice failed to pay accurate wages for hours worked, along with sick and overtime wages, between September 2019 and April 13, 2022.
The lawsuit is currently pending in the Stanislaus County Superior Court in California. Attorneys at the law firm Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP are representing the health care workers in the matter.
Community Hospice’s legal team indicated that it has “every intention to work towards resolution,” in a local news report.
“We will remain transparent through the legal proceedings,” they noted. “However, we will not provide further details or respond publicly regarding the allegations made, as it is a personnel matter. We are committed to the privacy of each of our current and prior employees.”
Employees indicated that they did not receive performance-based bonuses that were part of an incentive program for hourly employees. Staff claimed an “underpayment” of overtime compensation for actual hours worked as a result in the court documents, meaning they were paid at regular versus incentivized wage rates as promised.
The lawsuit also includes allegations that the hospice also did not reimburse workers for required business expenses during the three-year time frame and failed to provide rest and meal periods.
Financial losses incurred amounted to less than $5 million that the hospice allegedly “failed to lawfully compensate these employees,” and participated in “unfair and deceptive business practices,” according to the plaintiffs’ complaint.
Community Hospice, Inc. reported an 83% employee retention rate in 2022.
The hospice provided 109, 271 days of patient care that year. Its inpatient facility, the Alexander Cohen Hospice House served 403 patients in 2022.
The nonprofit is supported by its philanthropic arm, Community Hospice Foundation, and also operates the Hope Chest Thrift Stores. Last year Community Hospice, Inc. reported an annual revenue of $31.39 million, of which 6% was funded through the foundation.