Tuesday , July 27 2021

Humana agrees to $17 million settlement with home health workers in overtime class action case

Humana on Friday agreed to a $17 million settlement with home health workers in a class action lawsuit that claimed the company did not pay overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours.

The lawsuit involves live-in and non-live-in home health workers employed by Humana and SeniorBridge Family Companies, an arm of Humana, who didn’t receive all due overtime dating back to 2015. Humana could not be reached Monday for comment.

At issue is how many hours home health workers, who provide companionship for people who are elderly or disabled, should be compensated for their 24-house live-in shifts or 8-12-hour hourly shifts.

According to the joint motion for settlement filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, a settlement avoids what is expected to be a prolonged and complex case. “The advantages to both parties to avoid that cost and delay, not to mention the risk inherent in forcing complex legal and factual issues to be resolved, up or down, through litigation are all significant considerations favoring settlement,” the motion reads.

A number of issues remain that would be litigated, the parties say, including how to handle a federal regulation that extended Fair Labor Standards Act overtime protections to home health workers employed by third parties that was later reversed, as well as federal and state laws dealing with excluding sleep and meal times from workers’ pay.

“All of these complex trial and appellate issues mean that, absent a settlement, this case is likely to go on for years before it is resolved through litigation with all of the ever-increasing costs and attorneys’ fees such lengthy proceedings will inevitably entail,” the motion reads.

In exchange for the settlement payment, class action members will give up certain rights involving wage and employment claims. The settlement is subject to court approval.

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