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Alice Peck Day Hospital Cited for 386 Labor Violations

  • Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, N.H. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen)



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Lebanon — The New Hampshire Department of Labor last week cited Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital for a range of labor violations related to timekeeping and work-shift restrictions for teens who were working at the Lebanon hospital.

A state labor investigation found a total of 386 violations between March 1, 2017, and March 30, 2018. Rudolph Ogden III, the department’s deputy commissioner, said an employer of APD’s size, with 543 employees, might be expected to have some issues.

“Sometimes people make mistakes,” Ogden said in a Wednesday phone interview. “Sometimes employees aren’t punching out on time.”

In an emailed statement on Wednesday, hospital officials said they have taken the necessary steps to address the problems. They expect to pay a fine and will pay any back wages owed.

“Alice Peck Day has a proud history of working with young people on our campus and always wants to ensure that our employees are accurately paid,” Brenda Blair, APD’s chief operating officer, said in the statement. “We are confident we have put the appropriate measures in place to make sure APD remains in compliance with state and federal labor laws.”

The findings come following other labor problems at APD and its related senior living facilities, including the firing earlier this year of the director of the APD-owned retirement community The Woodlands. Hospital administrators told residents in a February letter that Timothy Martin was fired for “a pattern of unprofessional conduct.” Subsequently, three former employees came forward with allegations of inappropriate physical contact between Martin and a teenage employee.

A fourth former employee of The Woodlands, Kurt Hildbrand, has filed a lawsuit against APD alleging that Martin fired him in March 2015 after he alerted Martin and other APD officials that he would be undergoing a kidney transplant, requiring at least a six-week medical leave and then limiting his duties during his recovery. The suit is pending in U.S. District Court in Concord.

The state Labor Department has not yet assessed a penalty for the recent APD violations, which included sometimes failing to pay employees all they were due on payday — in violation of the state’s wage payment law — and failing to pay some employees a required minimum of two hours’ pay on scheduled work days, according to the department’s report.

“Confidential employee interviews revealed that employees were uneasy about ‘going into overtime’ as management had on multiple occasions addressed the issue with employees regarding ‘Overtime,’ ” according to the report.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employees receive overtime pay, at a rate of at least time and one-half of their regular rate, for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Employees reported being given two directives from the hospital’s management: to “make sure their time record was accurate” and to “not go into overtime.” Some employees told the investigator that they altered their time record to avoid overtime.

The investigation also found that the hospital violated New Hampshire’s youth employment law, which prohibits employees younger than 16 from working more than three hours on a school day and past 9 p.m. APD also improperly allowed 16- or 17-year-old employees to work more than six consecutive days in a workweek and more than 30 hours per week when school was in session, according to the report.

In addition, APD sometimes allowed employees under the age of 18 to work more than 10¼ hours in a day and to work more than eight hours in a 24-hour period when the young employee worked more than two nights in the week, according to the report.

In response to the Labor Department’s findings, APD has trained its managers on work-shift requirements and youth employment laws, APD spokesman Peter Glenshaw said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. APD also has made improvements in its time-keeping technology and management oversight to ensure that it is accurate, he wrote.

APD anticipates paying a penalty in an amount yet to be determined, Glenshaw said. The hospital also plans to compensate employees affected by timekeeping and required pay violations for the discrepancies, according to Glenshaw. Employees under age 18 who worked more hours than state law allows were compensated appropriately, he said.

This is the first time the hospital has been cited for these violations, Ogden said.

In general, he said, the Labor Department is “not looking so much to penalize (employers, but instead to) get them in compliance.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.