Dhaval Shah, M.D. Settles with U.S. Department of Labor
Dr. Dhaval Shah owner of the Clinical Infectious Diseases Specialist and Chairman of the Nevada Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, agreed to pay $43,247 in back wages and liquidated damages to 51 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation found violations of the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
This publication had to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain the complete investigative report from the Department of Labor on Dr. Dhaval Shah’s investigation on shortchanging his employees. The process took over a couple of months to obtain the full official report with some information redacted due to the legality, sensitivity and privacy issues related to the case. The department determined that certain information within these records is exempt from disclosure. Exemption protects trade secrets, commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential.
The investigation, which was initiated as a full investigation, found that the medical practice was owned by Dr. Dhaval Shah with 100% ownership and the firm’s day to day business operations are run by Dr. Dhaval Shah. The period of investigation was from November 2015 through November 2018.
In December 2018, the Wage and Hour Investigator (WHI) held an initial conference in which Dr. Dhaval Shah, Owner, and Lisa Washington, Office Manager, were present. Dr. Shah stated that overtime is paid after 40 hours in a workweek. The investigator reviewed the records and confirmed that overtime was not paid consistently after 40 hours and that employees were paid straight time for overtime for all hours worked if the doctor did not approve the overtime. Further WHI determined that the employer paid overtime to employees a very small percentage of the time, overtime was only paid if approved by Dr. Shah.
WHI computed the total back wages, including overtime, for 51 employees. Violations were found due to the employer paying straight time for all hours worked and not paying half time for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
The medical practice provided hardcopy daily timesheets for each employee for the three-year investigative period. WHI transcribed and summed the daily hours to obtain the total weekly hours worked for each employee. Later, Wage and Hour Investigator held a conference with Page McAlister, Office Manager, and Dr. Dhaval Shah. In the meeting, the investigator informed Dr. Shah of violations found under Sec. 7 Overtime of the FLSA due to the employer (Dr. Shah) paying straight time for overtime and failing to pay overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Dr. Shah agreed to comply with the overtime rules and regulations.
Further WHI explained the back wages process and requirements of proof of payment. Dr. Shah agreed to pay but stated he’d provide the investigator with additional documentation of advances on pay provided to employees that did not return after the advance. Dr. Shah asked if those advances could be taken into consideration to reduce the back wage liability owed. The investigator informed Dr. Shah that he could provide the documentation and it would be reviewed to make a determination whether credit could be provided.
Liquidated damages were recommended and assessed. Civil money penalties were not recommended as this was a first investigation of Dr. Shah’s labor/wage investigation. Agreement called for Dr. Dhaval Shah to pay $43,247 in back wages and liquidated damages to 51 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation found violations of the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
“Employers are responsible for ensuring that they pay employees all the wages they have legally earned and for keeping accurate records of their hours,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Gaspar Montanez, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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