Workers in low-wage industries are often exploited by attempts to circumvent or ignore labor laws. One of these industries is home care, according to the complaint, whose workers in 2015 were specifically given the right to seek redress under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The employer of plaintiff Cassandra Jones, Good Shepherd Healthcare has more than one hundred home care workers in the state of Kentucky. According to the complaint, Jones attended patients in their homes to help them with their basic needs, including cooking and cleaning, and regularly worked more than forty hours per week. In fact, the complaint says, some weeks Jones worked as many as ninety hours.
The complaint alleges that, prior to 2015, Good Shepherd “was not concerned” with the overtime requirements under the FLSA. However, the complaint says, in 2015, it put in place a scheme to avoid paying overtime.
First, the company paid home care workers a predetermined hourly rate for all hours worked, regardless of whether the hours were under forty or over forty. Jones was paid $10 per hour, regardless of how many hours she worked per week.
Second, although checks were issued weekly by ADP, the complaint says that Good Shepherd provided ADP with misleading information, suggesting that workers were paid a different hourly rate each week with “something” for overtime. This “something” was not based on a regular and proper calculation of overtime.
The complaint asserts that, while different workers made different rates of pay, all of them were paid in the same manner, and none of them were paid the 150% they should have been paid for hours over forty per week. The complaint says that the company’s excuse was that their customers “did not want to pay overtime.” In other words, the complaint says, the company willfully violated the FLSA.
While no specific class or class period was proposed, the complaint alleges that Good Shepherd owes Jones and potentially many other of their workers overtime pay for the hours over forty that they worked in various weeks. It also suggests that the company’s practice of disguising the calculation of its paycheck tolls the statute of limitations for the employees.