On February 27, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black ruled that home health care workers are entitled to overtime wages as of January 1, 2015 because of the Department of Labor’s regulation change.
This marks a significant victory for home health care workers around Ohio. Andy Biller, lead counsel for the workers, explained, “This case is not only a win for our clients, but it is a win for all home health care workers in Ohio. The issues in the case are a bit technical and complicated, but it comes down to this: home health care workers are entitled to overtime wages beginning January 1, 2015. I expect other home health care workers will be able to use this decision to collect back wages.”
Are you a Home Health Care worker who works over 40 hours a week?
You may be eligible for overtime compensation. Contact us with the form below or call us at (513) 651-3700.
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In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) changed its regulations to allow home health care workers and other employees that provide “companionship services” to receive overtime compensation for all hours worked beyond 40 per workweek. The DOL announced that this rule would go into effect on January 1, 2015.
Before that date arrived, however, a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled that the new DOL regulation was invalid. On October 13, 2015, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed the district court’s decision.
The issue before the court in Dillow v Home Care Network was whether home health care workers are entitled to seek unpaid overtime wages from January 1, 2015 to the present, or from October 13, 2015 to the present.
Judge Black sided with the home health care workers, holding that they are entitled to overtime from January 1, 2015 to the present. Judge Black’s opinion rests on the long-settled principle that judicial decisions are applied retroactively.
The Court held that “[t]he fairness principle at issue should be obvious—a party who relies upon the wrong interpretation of the law should not be rewarded over a party who relies upon the correct interpretation.” As the court explained, permitting a defendant to shield itself from liability while an appeal was pending would incentivize the defendant to drag out the appeals process for as long as possible. According to Judge Black, “The more equitable holding is that any party involved in ongoing litigation should be prepared to be responsible for the implications of a retroactive ruling not in its favor at the appellate level.”