BOSTON – Estelle Jones has been a registered nurse for more than four decades. Now retired, she earns extra money picking up shifts for agencies that staff long term care facilities. Jones said she has always been paid for her work, until recently.
“I completed the assignment. everything. I have not been compensated 120 hours,” she told WBZ-TV. “I think it’s outrageous.”
Owed more than $7,000 since March, Jones says she worked for Rapid Response Staffing Agency in Canton, filling in on overnight shifts at a nursing home in Stoneham.
“I have gone into the office, I’ve sent her emails, I’ve texted her. She’s changing payrolls, she is going to wire it into my account. She paid eight hours on April 3. One shift,” Jones said about her interactions with the agency.
No one answered the door at the company’s office. We got a recorded message when we called their phone number.
The agency is owned by Kettly Saint Fleur, a licensed practical nurse according to her LinkedIn profile. When the I-Team didn’t find her at the office we went to her home in Attleboro. She came to the door and called the police.
Saint Fleur told us us in a text message, “Rapid Response has no comment at this time. We cannot comment on confidential employee matters.”
Jones said she really needs her money and she claims she’s not alone. Co-workers also had trouble getting paid. We listened to a voicemail message a colleague left on her phone telling Jones to keep emailing Saint Fleur to get her money.
Looking for answers, the I-Team reached out to the long-term care facility where Jones worked her shifts. They told us they paid Rapid Response Staffing Agency’s invoices and it was their responsibility to pay Jones her wages.
Not paying workers is called wage theft. Anin January revealed the practice is widespread in Massachusetts, costing workers billions and the state tens of millions in revenue. We caught up with the head of the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division at a wage theft clinic earlier this year.
“It’s stealing. So, if you work and don’t get paid your employer is stealing from you,” Assistant Attorney General Lauren Moran said. “It’s the same as if you know they went into your wallet and took money from you.”
Days after the I-Team started asking questions about Jones’s wages, she got an email from Rapid Response claiming there were discrepancies in her timesheets and the company deposited nearly $3,000 in her checking account.
“I wouldn’t have gotten any of it if it wasn’t for you,” Jones told WBZ. “I appreciate you.”
She said the company is now corresponding with her and is hopeful she will be paid the rest of the money she is owed.