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Home care workers file class action for unpaid wages

March 12, 2019

Pamela Holden and April Wright do important work. Their clients depend on them for help with basic activities of daily living, such as bathing, getting around the house, using the bathroom, preparing food, housekeeping, and getting to and from appointments. The days are long, and often involve travelling between multiple clients’ homes per day and frequently logging over 50 hours a week. But their employer didn’t fully compensate them for their hard work.

Not content with being shortchanged, Ms. Wright and Ms. Holden stood up for their rights, and with the help of the Public Justice Center, filed a lawsuit in March to recover their unpaid wages. They allege that Bwell Healthcare, Inc. misclassified them as independent contractors and didn’t pay them required overtime wages or anything at all for their compensable travel time between client homes. The class- and collective-action lawsuit seeks compensation for hundreds of current and former Bwell Healthcare employees who were also underpaid.

For-profit home care agencies employ thousands of home care workers in Maryland, funding much of the work through Medicaid. But many workers are cheated out of their wages, like Ms. Holden, Ms. Wright, and other home care workers. The PJC’s Home Care Worker Initiative brings lawsuits to compel employers to change their practices and ensure that workers are paid what they’ve earned. We hope that this case will encourage Bwell Healthcare and other home care agencies to follow the law and do right by their employees.

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