Illinois Attorney General Raqoul Reaches Settlement with Medical Staffing Agency, GrapeTree Medical Staffing, for Charging Employees Fees for Missing Work
GrapeTree Medical Staffing to Repay Back Wages, Interest to Thousands of Illinois Workers
Chicago, IL (STL.News) Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul Thursday announced a settlement agreement that resolves an investigation by the Attorney General’s office and the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) into a medical staffing company’s practice of deducting “booking fees” when workers missed shifts. Under the settlement, GrapeTree Medical Staffing, LLC (GrapeTree) agrees to pay approximately $950,000 in back wages and interest to around 3,000 current and former employees in Illinois.
“Illinois law prohibits employers from disciplining employees by deducting their pay. Any company doing business in our state must follow laws that require workers to be compensated for the hours they work without unauthorized pay deductions,” Raoul said. “I am committed to enforcing laws that protect Illinois workers and support law-abiding businesses, and my office will continue to collaborate with the Illinois Department of Labor to accomplish that goal.”
“At its core, the mission of the Illinois Department of Labor is to ensure that workers are paid the wages to which they’re entitled,” said Illinois Department of Labor Director Jane Flanagan. “Thanks to the hard work of employees within the Department of Labor and Attorney General’s office, these workers will receive the wages that were wrongfully deducted from them.”
GrapeTree is a medical staffing company that provides healthcare professionals to work in long-term care and assisted living facilities in 12 states. Employees manage their own schedules by signing up for shifts through an online system. Raoul’s office and the IDOL found that GrapeTree charged employees a fee in the form of a payroll deduction if they did not show up for a shift or canceled a shift within 72 hours. The fees deducted ranged in size from $50 to $200. Under the settlement, GrapeTree agreed to end the practice in Illinois and pay Illinois employees all fees they are owed, with interest.
Illinois law prohibits pay deductions as a method of employee discipline in any industry. The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act permits pay deductions in only specific limited circumstances, and discipline policies do not match any of those circumstances.
Assistant Attorney General Henry Weaver and Bureau Chief Alvar Ayala handled the case for Raoul’s Worker Protection Unit.
Attorney General Raoul’s Workplace Rights Bureau protects and advances the employment rights of all Illinois residents, particularly the state’s most vulnerable residents and immigrant populations. The bureau investigates and litigates cases involving serious or persistent wage law violations or other significant employment practices and monitors and proposes legislation concerning labor and employment issues.
Attorney General Raoul encourages workers who wish to file a complaint about an employer’s practices to call the Workplace Rights Hotline at 1-844-740-5076 or visit the Attorney General’s website.
IDOL encourages workers that have concerns about improper deductions from their paychecks or other wage-related questions to contact the Department at 312-793-2808 or by filing a complaint online.
SOURCE: Illinois Attorney General