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Ivanovs v. BAYADA Home Health Care, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 24, 2018

SONYA IVANOVS and KATIE HOFFMAN, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHER SIMILARLY SITUATED EMPLOYEES, Plaintiffs,
v.
BAYADA HOME HEALTH CARE, INC., Defendant.

          MICHAEL JOHN PALITZ SHAVITZ LAW GROUP, P.A. GREGG I. SHAVITZ (ADMITTED PRO HAC VICE) ALAN L. QUILES (ADMITTED PRO HAC VICE) SHAVITZ LAW GROUP, P.A On behalf of Plaintiffs

          MICHAEL D. HOMANS HOMANS PECK LLC On behalf of Defendant

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Presently before the Court is the motion of Plaintiffs to conditionally certify their collective action claims for Defendant's alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. For the reasons expressed below, Plaintiffs' motion will be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs Sonya Ivanovs and Katie Hoffman, on behalf of themselves and all those similarly situated, allege that Defendant, BAYADA Home Health Care, Inc., unlawfully classifies all of its Client Service Managers (“CSMs”) nationwide as exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (“FLSA”).

         According to Plaintiff, BAYADA is a home healthcare provider with more than 330 office locations in 21 States, and its operations are generally divided into two primary business lines: Home Health and Home Care. The Home Health business line offices provide home visit services (typically one hour or less) by various medical professionals and paraprofessionals providing nursing, therapeutic, and rehabilitative care primarily on a short-term basis. The Home Care business line offices provide nursing and personal care to people with chronic illness, injury, or disability, primarily on an ongoing shift (two hours or more) basis.

         Each office location typically employs one or more CSM. Plaintiff relates that Home Heath CSMs and Home Care CSMs perform the same primary duty - filling shifts for nursing and medical paraprofessional care in clients' homes - but the method by which that duty is carried out differs slightly between Home Health CSMs and Home Care CSMs, as do their secondary duties. Ivanovs was a Home Health CSM and Hoffman was a Home Care CSM.

         Plaintiffs claim that BAYADA classifies CSMs as exempt despite the fact that it requires CSMs to perform non-exempt duties as their primary duties, including but not limited to: scheduling health care professionals for patients, calling health care professionals for assignments, performing patient intake calls, contacting patient referrals, and verifying insurance coverage for patients. Plaintiffs claim that based upon this unlawful exempt classification, BAYADA has willfully refused to pay the CSMs the required overtime compensation for overtime hours worked.

         Plaintiffs have moved for conditional certification of their FSLA collective action, and have proposed two nationwide sub-classes. Plaintiffs propose as sub-class 1 BAYADA Home Health CSMs who worked for BAYADA at any location nationwide during the three years prior to the Court's order allowing notice. Plaintiffs propose as sub-class 2 the BAYADA Home Care CSMs who worked for BAYADA at any location nationwide during the three years prior to the Court's order allowing notice. Plaintiffs have also provided forms of notices to be sent out to all potential opt-in plaintiffs, as well as proposed the modes of dissemination of those notices.

         Defendant has objected to Plaintiffs' motion, arguing that because the duties of CSMs differ significantly across its 330 offices, and the determination of whether an employee should be classified as exempt or non-exempt requires a very fact-specific analysis, Plaintiffs' FLSA claims cannot be pursued as a nationwide collective action. Defendant also opposes Plaintiffs' forms of notice and methods of dissemination.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Jurisdiction

         Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and others “similarly situated” to remedy alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and therefore this Court ...


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