We hope the court's ruling will empower clinicians to take a stand against this challenged compensation scheme which will hopefully have the effect of eradicating this practice within the company as well as across the health care industry
Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) April 15, 2011
The law firm Martin & Jones, PLLC announces that a federal court in Georgia has conditionally certified a nationwide collective action lawsuit against Gentiva, the country's largest home health care service provider. Pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the lawsuit asserts that Gentiva Health Services, Inc. ("Gentiva") violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The lawsuit, entitled Rindfleisch, et al. v. Gentiva Health Services, Inc. (Case 1:10-cv-3288-SCJ), asserts that Gentiva, treats registered nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists as exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA and refuses to pay these employees for all hours worked, including time and one-half for hours over 40. Gentiva pays these clinicians on a "per visit" basis for some work and a "unit" rate for other work, but plaintiffs allege the "visit" or "unit" rates are based upon time estimates. Specifically, plaintiffs claim that because they are paid pursuant to time estimates or on an hourly basis for some or all of their work, they are not subject to the FLSA's exemption for professionals, and are therefore due overtime.
The court held that preliminary certification and notice were appropriate because the registered nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists employed by Gentiva are similarly situated to each other and to named plaintiffs with respect to both their job requirements and the pay provisions that are at the heart of this case. Additionally, plaintiffs demonstrated that other clinicians would wish to join this action based on their showing that at least forty-three clinicians from twelve states had already consented to join the lawsuit.
With collective action certification, current and certain former Gentiva clinicians will receive written notification of their right to join the lawsuit and assert a claim for unpaid wages. The FLSA prevents employers from retaliating against any employee who chooses to exercise his or her right and participate in this action. Any Gentiva registered nurse, physical therapist or occupational therapist that was paid on a per visit basis at any time after April 13, 2008, until the present is eligible to participate in the action.
"We hope the court's ruling will empower clinicians to take a stand against this challenged compensation scheme which will hopefully have the effect of eradicating this practice within the company as well as across the health care industry," said Jill Hernandez, who worked for more than ten years as a Wage and Hour Investigator with the U. S. Department of Labor prior to joining Martin & Jones. Jill utilizes her experience to represent employees for violations under both federal and state wage and hour law.
Christine Webber, a partner at Cohen Milstein who has represented thousands of workers in wage and hour cases, noted, There are over 10,000 current or former nurses and other clinicians who will have the opportunity to join this case as a result of the court's ruling, and we are committed to ensuring that these dedicated health care providers are paid for all their hard work."
Martin & Jones, PLLC has offices in North Carolina and Georgia, and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC has offices in Washington, DC and New York.