NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A judge determined Thursday that a North Providence doctor violated fair labor laws by failing to pay overtime to more than 100 employees, including medical secretaries, X-ray technicians, medical assistants and emergency medical technicians.
The judge ruled that, since 2015, Dr. Anthony Farina and his sister, Brenda Delsignore, the manager of his four practices, did not pay their employees overtime unless those hours were approved in advance.
Farina, according to the judge, also had a practice of automatically deducting a 30-minute lunch break from the hours of all employees who worked six hours or more, “regardless of whether those employees, in fact, took a 30-minute lunch break.”
“This practice is apparent on the defendants’ own records, which show instances where employees punched out for a 30-minute lunch and the defendants deducted an additional 30 minutes from those employees’ hours worked for that day,” the judge wrote in her ruling.
Several of the employees were also told to begin working prior to 8 a.m., though they would not start paying them until then.
The judge said Farina “had no system in place to determine when an employee punched in at different locations and, as a result, [they] worked more than 40 hours in one workweek.”
Farina, according to the judge, did not accurately keep record of employees’ hours, and “at times used the categories of ‘Other’ and ‘Miscellaneous’ on their payroll records during weeks in which employees worked overtime hours.”
“Yet these records show no wages paid at an overtime rate,” the judge continued.
Farina claimed certain violations “resulted from oversight or human error” and that the lunch policy was put in place “to rectify a historic problem of employees failing to punch out for lunch.”
The judge wouldn’t determine whether Farina violated the provisions intentionally, nor did she award any damages, saying that would need to be decided by a jury.
This is not the first time Farina’s practices have been under scrutiny. Earlier this year, his license was suspended following an investigation into claims he knowingly exposed his patients and staff to COVID-19.
His license was reinstated a month later with little explanation from state health officials, other than that he was no longer an immediate danger to the public.