United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING
IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
FEDERICO A. MORENO, United States District Judge
case is a one-count Fair Labor Standards Act claim by Paulina
Guerrero against her former employer, Moral Home Services,
Inc., and its owner, Armando Morales Rose (collectively,
"Assisting Hands"). Assisting Hands is a home health
care agency that places home health care aides in private
homes to provide clients with personalized non-medical care
in the clients' homes. Guerrero was employed by Assisting
Hands as a home health care aide from September 2012 to April
2016. She claims that Assisting Hands willfully violated the
Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay her $3, 913.75 in
overtime wages in 2015. She seeks monetary damages,
liquidated damages, interest, fees and costs.
cause comes before the Court upon Assisting Hands' Motion
for Summary Judgment. The main issue is whether the
Department of Labor's amended regulations related to the
"third-party companionship" exemption became
effective on January 1 or October 13, 2015.
Fair Labor Standards Act requires covered employers to pay
their employees overtime wages at one and one-half times an
employee's normal hourly rate for hours worked over 40 in
a week. 29 U.S.C. §§ 206, 207. For any violation,
the Act authorizes an aggrieved employee to bring a
collective action on behalf of herself and "other
employees similarly situated." See Id. §
216(b). But, the Act also contains numerous exemptions from
its wage and hour requirements. The "companionship
services" exemption exempts any employee who is
"employed in domestic service employment to provide
companionship services for individuals who (because of age or
infirmity) are unable to care for themselves." See
Id. § 213(a)(15).
October 2013, the Department of Labor issued a final rule
amending its regulations, to be effective January 1, 2015.
See Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to
Domestic Service, 78 Fed. Reg. 60, 454 (Oct. 1, 2013)
(codified at 29 C.F.R. pt. 552). The amended regulations
preclude third-party employers-like Assisting Hands-from
claiming the companionship services exemption. See
29 C.F.R. § 552.109(a) ("Third party employers of
employees engaged in companionship services.. .may not avail
themselves of the.. .overtime exemption.").
proposed changes were challenged in the United States
District Court for the District of Columbia. On December 22,
2014-before the planned January 1, 2015 effective date-the
district court concluded that the Department of Labor
exceeded its rule-making authority and vacated the rule as
applied to third-party employers. See Home Care Ass
'n of Am. V. Weil, 76 F.Supp.3d 138 (D.D.C.
2014). On August 21, 2015, the Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia reversed the district
court's vacatur. See Home Care Ass'n of Am. V.
Weil, 799 F.3d 1084 (D.C. Cir. 2015). After the circuit
court's decision, the Department of Labor issued guidance
stating that it would not institute enforcement proceedings
for violations of the amended regulations until 30 days after
the Court of Appeals issued a mandate making its opinion
effective, which the appellate court subsequently did on
October 13, 2015. See Application of the Fair Labor
Standards Act to Domestic Service: Announcement of 30-Day
Period of Non-Enforcement, 80 Fed. Reg. 55, 029 (Sept. 14,
2015). The Department of Labor began enforcing the amended
regulations on November 12, 2015. See Application of
the Fair Labor Standards Act to Domestic Service: Dates of
Previously Announced 30-Day Period of Non-Enforcement, 80
Fed. Reg. 65, 646 (Oct. 27, 2015).
and Assisting Hands do not dispute that: (1) Assisting Hands
is a "covered employer"; (2) Guerrero provided
companionship services; (3) Guerrero often worked more than 40
hours per week; and (4) under the amended regulations,
Guerrero is no longer an exempt employee, and Assisting Hands
must pay her overtime wages. The parties dispute only the
effective date of the amended regulations. Assisting Hands
argues that the effective date is October 13, 2015, the date
that the Court of Appeals' mandate to overturn the
district court's decision took effect. Guerrero argues
that the effective date is January 1, 2015, the date set by
the Department of Labor in its final rule. Assisting Hands
did not pay Guerrero overtime wages until October 13, 2015,
except for holiday hours per internal policy. The parties
also dispute one pay period ending November 29, 2015, in
which Guerrero was paid 34.75 hours of overtime at $12, 075
per hour instead of $15 per hour.
judgment is authorized where there is no genuine issue of
material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The party seeking summary
judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Adickes v.
S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). The
party opposing summary judgment may not simply rest upon mere
allegations or denials of the pleadings; the non-moving party
must establish the essential elements of its case on which it
will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574
(1986). This requires more than a scintilla of evidence; a
jury must be able to reasonably find for the non-movant.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254
(1986). An employee who brings suit under the Fair Labor
Standards Act for unpaid overtime compensation has the burden
of proving that she performed work for which she was not
property compensated. Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery
Co., 328 U.S. 680, 687-88 (1948).
A. Guerrero Was an Exempt Employee Before
unclear whether Guerrero asserts that she was a non-exempt
employee before 2015, under the old regulations. However, the
evidence supporting Guerrero's claim relates only to pay
periods ending in 2015. Therefore, her exemption status
before 2015 under the old regulations is
irrelevant. Accordingly, the Court
GRANTS Assisting Hands' motion for
summary judgment to the extent that Guerrero's claim
relates to the old regulations.
The Effective Date of the Amended Regulations ...