A Federal ruling in Michigan mandates actions against the owner of a Haslett assisted living facility for allegedly threatening to fire three employees suspected of cooperating with a US Department of Labor investigation. The order includes participation in anti-retaliation federal regulations training, along with payment of back wages and damages.
On December 11, 2023, District Judge Jane M. Beckering of the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division in Grand Rapids, issued a judgment and consent order. This requires Safe Haven Assisting Living of Haslett LLC and its owner, Tamesha Porter, to pay $16,500 in back wages and liquidated damages to the three affected former employees.
The action follows a lawsuit filed in February 2023 by the Department concerning findings from the Wage and Hour Division regarding Safe Haven’s wage practices over 18 months.
The lawsuit alleges that Porter regularly threatened dismissals and sought to identify employees who allegedly cooperated with investigators. After one employee’s resignation, Porter contacted their future employer, making claims about the employee’s misconduct at Safe Haven.
The resolution aims to restore wages and compensate three workers for workplace retaliation by Tamesha Porter. This action violates labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as explained by Mary O’Rourke, District Director of the Wage and Hour Division in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The order also compels Safe Haven Assisted Living to display an information sheet on the anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, distributing it among current and future employees. The facility must provide unbiased employment references for the former employees.
Based in Chicago, Labor Regional Attorney Christine Heri stated, “Tamesha Porter and Safe Haven Assisting Living of Haslett LLC are accountable for attempting to threaten and intimidate employees during a US Department of Labor investigation. We will take all necessary steps to protect workers’ legal rights to full wages and against retaliatory actions.”
A review of Safe Haven’s payroll records from August 16, 2020, to December 12, 2021, revealed that the company and Porter failed to pay affected workers for missed breaks due to labor claims. This omission violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
A previous consent judgment, issued on January 17, 2023, required Porter and Safe Haven Assisting Living of Haslett LLC to pay $15,238 in back wages and damages to six facility workers. Porter has complied with the payments.