In November 2015, the parties reached a settlement agreement inTomkins v. Amedisys, Inc. which has received preliminary approval from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Notice has been mailed to eligible class members, and can also be found on the website www.PerVisitCliniciansSettlement.com. The notice, forms required to submit a claim, and a full copy of the settlement agreement are all available fromwww.PerVisitCliniciansSettlement.com. A final fairness hearing is scheduled for January 2016.
On January 13, 2014, Judge Warren W. Eginton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut granted two important motions filed by plaintiff clinicians.
First, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion to conditionally certify a nationwide collective action against Amedisys and to authorize notice to current and former clinicians of the opportunity to join the lawsuit. Plaintiffs sought certification of a class of current and former employees of Amedisys who worked full-time as registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists and were paid on a “per visit” basis. Plaintiffs assert that until the end of 2010, these clinicians were misclassified as exempt from overtime and thus unlawfully denied any overtime compensation. Plaintiffs also contend that even after Amedisys reclassified these clinicians as overtime eligible, it failed to pay them all overtime due because it calculated overtime using a half-time rate rather than “time-and-a-half” and because its practices resulted in underreporting of hours worked. Judge Eginton found that there was sufficient evidence that these challenged policies were common, and conditionally certified a collective action to pursue overtime claims for the periods both before and after Amedisys reclassified clinicians as overtime eligible.
Second, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for a protective order and additional relief relating to Amedisys’s imposition of a new arbitration program on its employees while Plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification of a collective action was pending. Plaintiffs argued that Amedisys engaged in improper communications with putative class members in sending them a confusing, one-sided, and self-executing arbitration agreement seeking release of their right to join this action even while the Court was considering whether and what notice regarding this lawsuit should be sent to putative class members. Judge Eginton agreed, explaining that although the court supports arbitration, this communication was “confusing, misleading, and one-sided,” and “undermined the integrity of the judicial process.” The Court therefore ordered that putative class members be advised that they may join this action even if they did not initially submit a form opting out of Amedisys’s arbitration program. The Court also prohibited Amedisys from further communications with putative class members about this case without first obtaining permission from the court.
A nationwide class action lawsuit was filed on July 25, 2012 against one the nation’s largest home health care service providers. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the lawsuit asserts that Amedisys, Inc. (AMED-NASDAQ) (“Amedisys”), which has more than 16,000 employees, violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 9, 2013.
The lawsuit, entitled Tomkins, et al. v. Amedisys, Inc., asserts that Amedisys has failed to pay its home health care nurses and other clinicians all overtime due under federal and state wage and hour law. Amedisys pays nurses and other health care providers on a “per visit” basis for some work, with visit rates set based on estimated average visit durations, an hourly rate for other work, and fails to pay anything at all for other hours worked. Plaintiffs allege this compensation scheme requires that hours worked over forty per week be compensated as overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half. Until recently, Amedisys treated its home health clinicians as exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA and refused to pay these employees overtime for hours worked over 40 per week. Plaintiffs assert that even after Amedisys reclassified its clinicians as overtime eligible at the end of 2010, it continued to fail to pay all overtime due because it did not apply the standard “time-and-a-half” rate and failed to consider all hours clinicians worked when calculating overtime pay.
On April 8, 2013, the Court denied Defendant Amedisys’s motions to dismiss the case or to transfer the action to Amedisys’s home district in Louisiana. On January 13, 2014, the Court granted plaintiffs’ requests to conditionally certify the class and to provide notice of the collective action and opportunity to join the lawsuit to current and former registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists who were employed by Amedisys at any time since October 29, 2009. The case is thus proceeding in federal district court in Connecticut as a collective action on behalf of these current and former Amedisys employees.
Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Cohen Milstein, The Law Offices of Gilda A. Hernandez, PLLC, and Hayber Law Firm, LLC. According to Plaintiffs' counsel, Amedisys’ compensation scheme encourages employees to take on more patient visits, and work longer hours, while Amedisys reaps the benefits by reducing their labor costs and boosting their profit margins.