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Court grants temporary restraining order to home care workers fired for asserting their wage rights

July 25, 2019: Back in March, home care workers Pamela Holden and April Wright sued their employer, Bwell Healthcare, Inc. for failing to pay overtime or travel time between clients’ homes. When another worker joined the collective action lawsuit this summer, the owners got nervous and started firing anyone they thought was connected to the lawsuit, including Ms. Holden (Ms. Wright started another job before the firings). Bwell also fired Ms. Holden’s sister, Stephanie Williams, to further threaten Ms. Holden and intimidate other potential plaintiffs, even though Ms. Williams hadn’t filed anything in the lawsuit.

But Bwell underestimated the women. Ms. Williams decided to join the lawsuit, and together, they demanded that the company stand down. With the help of the PJC, they asked the Court for a temporary restraining order requiring Bwell and its owners to do three things: 1) give them their jobs back, 2) avoid retaliating against them or any other home care workers for participation or interest in the lawsuit, and 3) avoid communicating with any of the home care workers they employ about the suit or PJC clients. During the hearing on July 15, Ms. Holden gave passionate testimony about why she was fired and the devastating impact her termination had on her finances, mental health, and physical health. After a fair amount of argument from the Plaintiffs and one of Bwell’s owners, the Court granted the temporary restraining order. Ms. Holden and Ms. Williams are relieved to have their jobs back and ready to keep fighting as the case moves forward.