Suit filed on behalf of home health aide for failure to compensate for “sleep time.”

On August 2, 2017, the law firm of Barkan Meizlish, LLP filed a Complaint against Defendants Serenity Homes LV, LLC (“Serenity Homes”), and its manager, Valerie Kaleal, for the failure to properly compensate an employee in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act. Serenity Homes is a company based in Shelby, Ohio and provides home healthcare to individuals with mental and physical disabilities and specific medical needs throughout the Mansfield, Ohio and Shelby, Ohio area.

The lawsuit is brought on behalf of plaintiff Catherine Sparks, a home health aide currently employed by Defendants, who regularly worked at least 40 hours per week, including overnight and weekend shifts, during the two years preceding the filing of the Complaint. The Plaintiff alleges Serenity Homes failed to pay her overtime at a rate of 1.5 times her regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that she was not adequately compensated at the overtime rate when she worked “sleep time” hours (10:00 P.M. – 6:00 A.M.). To exclude sleep time hours under the FLSA, an employer must show an expressed or implied agreement with the employee that excludes sleep time, provide adequate sleeping facilities, and the employee must have at least 5 hours of consecutive sleep during the scheduled sleeping periods. 29 C.F.R. 785.22. Any interruptions to perform duties must be counted as hours worked. The Plaintiff alleges Defendants did not have any “sleep time” agreement, nor did Plaintiff have 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep while working sleep time hours as a home health aide.

Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that she was not properly compensated for attending mandatory employee meetings and working “on call” hours, nor was she properly paid for her mileage or reimbursed for the use of her own car when she engaged in activities to benefit Defendants’ clients during the course of her employment.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division and is titled Sparks v. Serenity Homes LV, LLC et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-01618.

If you feel that you are not being properly paid wages you have earned, call Barkan Meizlish, LLP for a free consultation at 800-274-5927. You may have a viable claim and our employment attorney can help you determine the best course of action.

Oil & Gas: Long, long days deserve fair pay, including overtime calculated the lawful way.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that it is finding “unacceptably high numbers of [wage and hour] violations in the oil and gas industry,” and “pattern of industry employers failing to pay workers legally required overtime.”[1] Common violations include: the mistaken classification of salaried employees as exempt;[2] not properly calculating employees’ regular rates for the purposes of determining overtime, such as failing to include certain bonuses; failing to pay for time spent working off-the-clock; and paying flat daily/shift rates without regard to how many hours the employees worked.[3] Even employees that earn more than $100,000 per year are often incorrectly classified as exempt, because the employer fails to satisfy all elements of the exemption.[4]

In addition to employees that work directly for oil & gas companies; workers in related businesses may also be underpaid, such as water and stone haulers, trucking, lodging, staffing companies and other types of oil and gas supporting trades.

If you work for an oil and gas company, or if you work in an industry related to the oil and gas business; and if you work more than 40 hours a week, then call us for a free consultation to determine whether you are being paid properly. Remember, even if you receive “overtime” compensation, the amount of overtime paid may not be properly calculated by your employer or by the staffing agency.

Also remember that wage and hour claims are typically subject to a two year statute of limitations. This is sometimes extended to three years, but only under certain circumstances. This means that as time goes by, historical weeks of earned wages are barred from recovery by the statute of limitations.

Call us today at 800-274-5297.

(Advertising Material: This Notice is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice).

[1] Oil, gas industry workers in 9 states owed more than $1.6M in back wages ongoing Labor Department enforcement initiative finds

[2] See also To Be or Not to Be . . . exempt. I’m salaried, so I shouldn’t get overtime, right? Sorry, that is wrong.

[3] Oil, gas industry workers in 9 states owed more than $1.6M in back wages ongoing Labor Department enforcement initiative finds; and US Department of Labor finds oil and gas industry workers in New Mexico, west Texas underpaid by more than $1.3M

[4] Fact Sheet #17H: Highly-Compensated Workers and the Part 541-Exemptions Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

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