November 16, 2023
WASHINGTON and BALTIMORE — AARP Foundation and the Public Justice Center filed a class action lawsuit today on behalf of home care aides who are current and former employees of FinePoints Private Duty Healthcare, LLC (FinePoints). The suit alleges that FinePoints, a private agency in Maryland that provides in-home assistance to individuals with special needs, committed wage theft by grossly underpaying its employees in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Maryland wage laws.
According to the suit, plaintiff Margaret Bobb and other FinePoints home care employees traveled to multiple client homes per day, helping older adults and people with disabilities with bathing and dressing, preparing meals, cleaning, monitoring medications, providing transportation to appointments, and other caregiving tasks. The suit alleges that many of FinePoints’ home care aides consistently worked substantial overtime hours, including time spent traveling between clients’ homes, often seven days per week.
The FLSA and Maryland wage laws require FinePoints to pay employees time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 per week, including compensation for time spent traveling between worksites like clients’ homes. According to the complaint, FinePoints refused to pay Ms. Bobb and its other home care employees overtime rates for their overtime hours and denied them any compensation for hours traveling between clients’ homes. FinePoints’ misclassification of its home care employees’ status under federal and state wage laws also exposed them to the risk of losing other employee rights such as sick leave, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation coverage.
Ms. Bobb seeks her unpaid wages and damages under federal and Maryland statutes, as well as injunctive relief to permanently reform FinePoints’ wage and hour practices. The suit was filed in federal district court in Maryland on behalf of Ms. Bobb and other FinePoints employees, current and former, with similar experiences.
“It’s not right,” said Ms. Bobb. “I, and many other home care workers, put in long hours because we know it’s important for the people we care for. But we can’t provide the kind of care people need if we’re not paid what the law says we’re owed. I hope this lawsuit helps make things better not just for myself, but for other home care workers and for those we care for.”
“Unfortunately, many of Maryland’s home care agencies wrongly deny their employees the wages and benefits they’re entitled to,” said David Rodwin, Lead Attorney of the Public Justice Center’s Workplace Justice Project. “It’s especially harmful when home care workers are misclassified because it also hurts those they care for by increasing worker turnover. It’s not just wrong — it’s illegal.”
“Refusing home care workers — many of whom are older and living on low incomes — the earnings they’ve worked hard for is an outright violation of the law,” said William Alvarado Rivera, Senior Vice President for Litigation at AARP Foundation. “By ensuring they receive the livable wages they deserve, we can help address the country’s shortage of direct care workers and improve the quality of care provided to those in need, often older adults with disabilities.”
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation works for and with vulnerable people over 50 to end senior poverty and reduce financial hardship by building economic opportunity. As a charitable affiliate of AARP, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Through vigorous legal advocacy and evidence-based solutions, and by strengthening supportive community connections, we foster resilience, advance equity and restore hope. To learn more, visit aarpfoundation.org or follow @AARPFoundation on social media.
About Public Justice Center
The Public Justice Center pursues systemic change to build a just society. We use legal advocacy tools to pursue social justice, economic and race equity, and fundamental human rights for people who are struggling to provide for their basic needs. We provide advice and representation to low-income clients, advocate before legislatures and government agencies, and collaborate with community and advocacy organizations. To learn more, visit www.publicjustice.org.