Humana: Overtime Suit Should Not Be Class Action

From the pause of the federal overtime rule to putting an end to overtime for home care workers in Illinois, overtime has been a hot topic in the last year. Insurance provider Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is now feeling the sting as a lawsuit asking for class certification could potentially impact thousands of home health aides employed by the company’s subsidiaries across the country.

Last week, the company urged a Connecticut federal court to deny class certification to two home health aides who filed a lawsuit claiming they were shorted overtime pay while working for a subsidiary of Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana, according to court documents.

The plaintiffs, Daverlyn Kinkead and Grenesha Upton, are seeking unspecified damages, attorneys’ fees and an enjoinder that would force Humana to pay overtime to thousands of home health aides.

Kinkead and Upton are seeking class certification on behalf of current and former Humana home health workers employed between January 2015 and October 2015, according to the complaint.

However, Humana is opposing the certification, and states the motions presented by Kinkead and Upton rest on two flawed factual assumptions, court documents show.

First, the plaintiffs argued that the certification should be granted because Humana had a national, uniform policy of improperly classifying all home health aides as exempt from overtime.

Second was the argument that the certification should be granted because everyone who was classified as exempt worked more than forty hours, but didn’t get overtime pay and is owed overtime.

Both of these assumptions are false, the court documents say.

“Plaintiffs have no evidence to explain to the court or rebut these legally significant distinctions, and do not present evidence which otherwise binds these disparate populations,” the document says. “Plaintiffs’ burden for conditional certification may be ‘modest,’ but plaintiffs’ scant evidence that is specific to just two employees and two Humana subsidiaries fails to justify national conditional certification.”

It is also noted that Humana and Humana At Home are parent companies of multiple subsidiaries around the country and do not employ home health aides directly.

If certification is granted by the court, the company stresses that the class should be limited to home health aides employed by only the two subsidiaries of Humana by which the plaintiffs were employed.

Humana’s home care sector has seen ups and downs, from increasing its home care bandwidth in the form of a 2015 acquisition to most recently laying off 500 workers from its home care unit, Humana At Home.

Written by Alana Stramowski

Alana Stramowski

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