In December of 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky heard a case involving the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and subject matter jurisdiction. (See Holt v. Witt, 2011 WL 6749055 (E.D. Ky. 2011)). The two plaintiffs in this Kentucky overtime FLSA case filed a complaint against an Estate seeking to recover for services rendered as in-home caregivers during the years 2002-2005. Plaintiffs sued claiming they were not paid overtime wages pursuant to the FLSA and are owed monies for KRS Section 337.285 nonpayment of overtime violations. The plaintiffs hired a Kentucky overtime lawyer who filed their action in State Court. The defendants removed the action to federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction.
The defense attorney argued that there are exemptions to the FLSA overtime provision and that the plaintiffs fell under one of them; the “companionship services” exemption. Under the FLSA provision … “any employee employed on a casual basis in domestic service employment to provide babysitting services or any employee employed in domestic service employment to provide companionship services for individuals who (because of age or infirmity) are unable to care for themselves (as such terms are defined and delimited by regulations of the Secretary). This does not include “services relating to the care and protection of the aged or infirm which require and are performed by trained personnel, such as a registered or practical nurse, … such that “trained personnel” are entitled to overtime compensation.” Id.
Some case law has held that a certified nursing assistant who received only sixty hours of formal medical training was not “trained personnel” within the meaning of the exemption. (cites omitted). And another case held that a home-health aide who had received seventy-five hours of training to be a certified nursing assistant, was not entitled to overtime compensation under the FLSA. (cites omitted). Further, “a spousal caregiver who received no training but provided “care virtually around the clock” to her husband fell within the “companionship services” exemption and thus could not recover overtime compensation under this provision of the FLSA.” (cites omitted).
The plaintiffs in the current case argued that they provided services that required skilled medical training such as maintenance of a feeding tube, changing of diapers, and recording of vital signs. But, each did testify that they had no particular training as a caregiver or any professional medical training. Id. But, both plaintiffs testified that they received on the job training.
The court based on the facts and testimony in this Kentucky overtime FLSA case found for the defendants and did not award overtime compensation to the plaintiffs. But, the court did retain supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims for unpaid overtime wages under KRS section 337.285.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky overtime FLSA case, please call and speak to a Kentucky overtime lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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