Court Rules on Conditional Certification in Homecare FLSA Suit

On Friday, the District of Connecticut issued a ruling and order regarding the conditional certification of a class in a case against Euro Homecare. The order addressed a request for conditional certification of a class of live-in healthcare givers who alleged that their living circumstances and hours violate the conditions established in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Euro Homecare supplies live-in healthcare givers, mostly from Poland, to provide in-home care for disabled and elderly patients. As a part of the FLSA, employers of in-home workers must provide a maximum number of 13 working hours, meal breaks, and a period of 8 hours for uninterrupted sleep. The named plaintiff alleged that the defendants required their employees to complete their timesheets as if they had met these conditions, regardless of the actual circumstances in their employment. The plaintiff moved for conditional certification of a class, pending confirmation through discovery as to the individual plaintiffs’ circumstances after receiving notice of the class action. The defendants objected, indicating discovery should proceed first to justify the sending of the notice.

The court held the standard required for sending of a notice was a “modest factual showing,” which the court interpreted to require evidence, but a very low standard of evidence, as the intent of the notice period is to obtain the evidence that would permit the court to conduct the second, more intensive review of the class’ status and decide if the class should remain or should be de-certified. The court also acknowledged that due to the native languages of most of the potential class, requiring the notice to be distributed in English and Polish was not an undue burden on the defendants. Finally, the court held that due to the very nature of the potential plaintiffs’ living circumstances, allowing a longer than usual notice period would provide better response to the notice and better evidence at the second stage review.

The plaintiffs are represented by Zipin, Amster & Greenberg. Defendants are represented by Letizia, Ambrose & Falls