According to the brief supporting settlement approval and reported by Law360, "As evidenced by the six-plus years of litigation, the issues in this case are complex and will continue to be vigorously contested if the litigation continues. Absent settlement, the parties would have to retry the case, which will include another round of preparation, some pretrial motions, and significant expenses.”
One issue in the case is misclassification. Plaintiffs Sonya Ivanovs and Katie Hoffman filed the collective action against Bayada Home Health Care Inc. back in March 2017, claiming that Bayada misclassified them and other client managers as exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements, although they mainly performed non-exempt work. Ivanovs and Hoffman argued that all client service managers were paid a salary as exempt employees; they had between 70% and 95% of their work dedicated to non-exempt duties, and all worked the same duties, same job descriptions and same policies.
In January 2023 a bifurcated trial took place. It dealt with liability questions and then determined damages based on the liability outcome. In May, U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman of the District of New Jersey denied Bayada's two motions for judgment as a matter of law. He ruled that the the plaintiffs had not been paid for working over 40 hours per week, that Bayada had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, and plaintiffs’ testimony and evidence adequately represented the 62-member collective. However, the jury concluded that Ivanovs had not proven she worked over 40 hours per week, and a mistrial was declared on the other liability questions after the jury could not reach a verdict, court records show.
On its website, Bayada says its 31,500 employees cares for an average of 42,000 clients per week. Spanning 6 countries, including 22 U.S. states (employing 18,000 home health care professionals) and it has served 152,000 in the past year.
The case is Ivanovs et al. v. Bayada Home Health Care Inc., case number 1:17-cv-01742, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Another Bayada Overtime Lawsuit
In 2016, one year before Sonya Ivanovs and Katie Hoffman filed their collective action, a Pennsylvania registered nurse filed a lawsuit claiming Moorestown, NJ-based Bayada violated state and federal wage laws by failing to pay overtime to its home health clinicians. The clinicians, which includes registered nurses, physical therapists and medical social workers, were classified as "overtime exempt” but plaintiff Stephanie Higgins argued that the workers' pay structure is a "hybrid wage scheme that is plainly inconsistent with their classification” and overtime-exempt employees must be paid on a salary or fee basis.
READ MORE OVERTIME LEGAL NEWS
According to the Courier Post, the lawsuit contends that Bayada's wage system includes "fixed, per-visit payments for some work and hourly payments for other work." It said clinicians received "no compensation at all for other required tasks," including preparing for patient visits, traveling between patients' homes and documenting information from patient visits. Further, Bayada "routinely" allows clinicians to exceed a 40-hour workweek.