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Former owners of DC assisted living facilities fined $1.5 million for wage theft


The former owners of six D.C. assisted living facilities will pay over $1.5 million for failing to fully compensate their front-line health care workers during the height of the pandemic.

D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb’s office said Tuesday that Azure Health Services had violated District minimum wage law by requiring its employees to work 24-hour shifts for 14 consecutive days — while only paying them for 18 hours per day.

“Azure employees risked their lives to care for our city’s most vulnerable residents during a global health crisis,” Schwalb said in a news release. “Despite profiting by requiring its employees to work 24-hour shifts, Azure failed to pay the wages its hardworking employees had rightfully earned and were legally owed.”

Azure ran six care facilities in D.C. for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Schwalb’s office said, with about 50 employees in caregiving, counseling and support roles. CEO Beth Henson co-owned the company with president and COO Cynthia Warren until selling off its assets and shutting the facilities down in June 2021.

Schwalb’s office began investigating the company in late 2021 after receiving complaints from its workers. The Office of the Attorney General then filed a lawsuit against Azure in December 2021.

Azure will pay a total of $1,510,000 as part of a settlement, with $1,310,000 going to the affected workers and $200,000 in penalties owed to the city’s government for violating the Minimum Wage Revision Act.

“Thanks to the tireless work of OAG lawyers and investigators, that money is now going back into the workers’ pockets where it belongs,” Schwalb added. “We will not hesitate to hold accountable any employer who cheats its workers out of the wages and pay they have earned.”



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