Court of Appeals Reverses Overtime Lawsuit Rulings: NAHC Advocacy Continues
August 22, 2015 12:56 PM
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its decision today in the home care lawsuit challenging the validity of the Department of Labor rules that redefined the overtime compensation exemption affecting personal care aides. Earlier this year, the federal District Court invalidated the rule that excluded home care aide and live in domestic workers employed by home care companies, i.e. the 3rd party entity, and the additional rule that redefined “companionship services” in a way that made it inapplicable to home care workers. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision on 3rd party employers and determined that, in doing so, the plaintiffs, NAHC and others, did not have standing to challenge the new definition of “companionship services.”
NAHC was joined in this lawsuit by the International Franchise Association and the Home Care Association of America. At this point, the coalition is considering all options for further litigation including review before the U.S. Supreme Court. NAHC had previously pursued a lawsuit successfully concerning the overtime exemption to the Supreme Court. However, in those appeals, the focus was on defending the then-existing exemption while the current matter challenges the validity of the rule that replaced that exemption.
NAHC has 52 days to ask the Court of Appeals to rehear the case with the full slate of judges in that court. This is known as “en banc” review. Thereafter, NAHC would have 90 days to seek review before the U.S. Supreme Court through what is known as a Petition for Certiorari. Supreme Court review is discretionary with the court. Alternatively, NAHC could seek Supreme Court review and bypass the Court of Appeals en banc rehearing. A request for a stay of the court’s ruling is likely necessary as well to avoid the rules taking affect during further appeal. If no further review is sought, the rules would go into affect in 52 days.
Legislative action is an additional remedy that the coalition is considering. However, even if Congress reinstated the former rules with legislation, the President, who has publicly supported the changes, can veto it. Finally, the primary payers of the affected services, state Medicaid program, will likely need to institute changes in payment rates to cover any new costs. That is a difficult proposition for a number of reasons, but earlier plans by states to limit working hours to avoid overtime were met with opposition from workers and beneficiaries alike.
NAHC has been joined in its advocacy on this issue by numerous other stakeholders including representatives of persons with disabilities. These allies have already reached out to express their plan to continue support.
The lawsuit is Home Care Association of America, et al v. Weil, et al, Case Number 15-5018. The decision can be accessed here.