NMDWS News Release - June 17, 2020: NMDWS resolves wage claims, recovers $49,084 on behalf of worker
For Immediate Release
June 17, 2020
Contact: Stacy Johnston
Acting Public Information Officer
NMDWS resolves wage claims, recovers $49,084 on behalf of workers
(Albuquerque, NM) – The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) Labor Relations Division (LRD) recently resolved 19 wage claims and collected $49,084 on behalf of impacted workers.
NMDWS LRD had received as many as 33 complaints from former employees of Heartland Care, Inc., which operated nursing homes in Artesia, Hobbs, and Portales. The complaints, dating as far back as 2014, included failure to pay back wages. Default judgments were obtained against Heartland, however, LRD was unable to collect the money owed due to the company’s financial situation. In 2016, Heartland filed for bankruptcy protection.
In June 2019, Heartland emerged from bankruptcy, allowing LRD to pursue collections again. Heartland owed approximately $2 million to the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, which held liens against property owned by Heartland. These liens would have taken priority over LRD’s judgments. In order to reach a more timely conclusion for the affected workers, the NMDWS Office of General Counsel and LRD worked to find a mutually satisfactory agreement and facilitated voluntary settlements between Heartland and 19 of the 33 original individuals who had filed claims. Heartland was cooperative and receptive in these efforts. In total, LRD collected and disbursed to the workers $49,084 in settlement proceeds in May, 2020.
"Since her election, Gov Lujan Grisham has made assuring workers get paid for hours they've worked a top priority,” said Bill McCamley, NMDWS Secretary. “We will continue to use all of our tools to enforce wage laws, and make sure that a fair day's work results in a fair day's pay.”
LRD made several attempts but was unable to contact the 14 additional individuals who made claims against Heartland. Their claims remain open should they wish to pursue settlements, and they may contact the LRD office in Albuquerque at (505) 841-4400.
Any employee who has not been paid earned wages may file a wage claim with the Department, as long as the last non-payment or underpayment of wages occurred within three years prior to the date of filing. A Wage Claim Form in both English and Spanish is available at www.dws.state.nm.us/Wage-and-Hour. A report of violation of wage and hour laws may also be made over the phone by calling any LRD office.
Labor Relations Division Contact Information:
Albuquerque Office Las Cruces Office Santa Fe Office
401 Broadway NE 266 S. Alameda Blvd 1596 Pacheco Street, Suite 103
Albuquerque, NM 87102 Las Cruces, NM 88005 Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 841-4400 Phone (575) 524-6195 Phone (505) 827-6817 Phone
(505) 841-4424 Fax (575) 524-6194 Fax (505) 827-9676 Fax