Filipino caregivers and LA city attorney win settlement against health staffing agency

LOS ANGELES — The city’s attorney and Filipino caregivers are celebrating a quarter million dollar settlement, and while the welcome the money, they believe this is part of a bigger movement against wage theft.

The city attorney Mike Feuer announced it had reached a settlement against Evelyn Nishi and her companies, Health Alliance Nurses Corporation, and Hand Homecare Provider Inc.

The case had begun three years ago, as caregivers claimed that the companies were paying them as little as $5.50 an hour for 24 hours days, which the companies had denied.

The settlement awards workers a quarter million dollars in restitution. It also places a $100,000 hundred  fine and an injunction against the defendants that would limit work days to 12 hours, guarantee overtime for people that work beyond 9 hours a day, and would require audits.

Since the case against them first surfaced, Health Alliance had argued that their workers were self-employed independent contractors the injunction now require that caregivers be hired as employees.

The restitution will be distributed after the affected workers, which is believed to be as many as 200, are identified.

Feuer adds that this is the first wage theft case that a public law firm has successful settled under the domestic workers’ bill of rights.

For attorneys, advocates and the workers, this victory goes beyond their former employer and beyond their industry.

They say it’s a win for all workers in LA, especially as the city gradually increases towards a $15 dollar minimum wage by 2020.

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