Business

Feds say company shorted workers’ OT pay; Now, it has to pay up

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

Dr. Rodolfo Dumenigo’s companies keep being accused of trying to get free work from their employees. This third time turned out to be the unlucky charm for Dumenigo’s Miami Beach Medical Transport, which just paid $222,059 in back pay.

The company paid 53 employees an average of $4,189.79 after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company has a problem obeying some parts of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“(Wage and Hour) investigators determined that Miami Beach Medical Transport LLC failed to pay drivers for time they spent working from home confirming appointments with patients for the following day’s route,” the Department of Labor said in a Wednesday release. “The employer also automatically deducted 30 minutes from employees’ timecards for lunch each day, whether or not employees were actually able to take those breaks.”

Sunbiz state records list Dr. Rodolfo Dumenigo as the sole manager and agent of Miami Beach Medical Transport. Dumenigo held the same positions with his Miami Beach Medical Group before its September 2012 dissolution.

Three months before that, Miami Beach Medical Group got accused of not enough pay for play.

A Miami Beach Medical Group employee named Alba Toro’s July 2012 lawsuit sang of unpaid overtime. Toro’s suit claimed Dumenigo and his company, “knowingly and willfully failed to pay Plaintiff and the other employees similarly situated to her at time and one half of their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) per week.”

The suit was dismissed without prejudice in February 2013 for failure to prosecute. After Toro’s attorneys withdrew in December 2012, saying Toro made representing her “unreasonably difficult,” she didn’t find a replacement, help pick a mediator, or do anything to further the lawsuit.

Driver Ernesto Hidalgo Diaz picked up the tune from Toro in his 2017 lawsuit against Miami Beach Medical Transport and Dumenigo. This familiar-sounding paragraph comes from the complaint:

“(Diaz) worked approximately 60 hours per week. (Diaz) was generally paid for hours worked when delivering patients, and was paid partial overtime during the time he delivered patients. However, (Diaz) was not paid overtime wages for time spent calling patients and coordinating schedules. (Diaz) was also not paid overtime wages during the regular scheduled shifts when Defendants automatically deducted a lunch break, without regard as to whether (Diaz) actually took the lunch break.”

Diaz made $10 an hour as a driver.

The July 11, 2017 settlement says Miami Beach Medical Transport officially denies all of Diaz’s claims. Money told a slightly different story when it talked. The company paid Diaz $1,775 to cover his unpaid wages, $2,225 in damages, and $3,500 for Diaz’s attorney’s fees.

A message left for Dumenigo by the Miami Herald last week wasn’t returned.

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