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Sawyer v. Health Care Solutions at Home, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 25, 2018

JEFFREY SAWYER, individually and on behalf of a class of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
HEALTH CARE SOLUTIONS AT HOME, INC; and LINCARE INC., Defendants.

         Plaintiff's Pre-Discovery Motion for Conditional Certification and Court-Supervised Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), ECF No. 18-Granted in part

          OPINION

          JOSEPH F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Presently before this Court is Plaintiff's Pre-Discovery Motion for Conditional Certification and Court-Supervised Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). ECF No. 18. For the reasons that follow, this Court grants Plaintiff's Motion in part.

         II. Background and Procedural History

         In October 2016, Plaintiff Jeffrey Sawyer filed a complaint against Defendants Health Care Solutions at Home, Inc. and Lincare Inc., on behalf of himself and all similarly situated hourly workers employed by Defendants. Sawyer contends that Defendants falsely altered the timekeeping records of their hourly employees to deduct 30-minute lunch breaks from hourly employees' hours, even when they worked during that time, and failed to factor bonuses into the overtime rate for hourly employees, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Pennsylvania law. ECF No.1.

         Defendants are in the business of delivering respiratory devices and treatment services directly to patients' homes, and maintain over a thousand service centers in forty-eight states. Pl.'s Memo. in Support 2, ECF No. 19. Defendants employ hourly-paid delivery drivers, known as “Service Representatives, ” and Customer Service Representatives throughout Pennsylvania.[1]Id. Driver/Service Representatives' responsibilities include delivery, setup, and maintenance of respiratory equipment at customers' homes. Id. at 3. Customer Service Representatives communicate with patients regarding refills of supplies and educate customers about available products and services. Id. Both Driver/Service Representatives and Customer Service Representatives are hourly-paid and overtime-eligible employees. Id.

         Defendants employed Sawyer as a full-time Driver/Service Representative at their service center location in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.[2] Compl. ¶ 21. Because of his busy schedule of visits to customer sites, he often did not take an uninterrupted lunch break. Compl. ¶¶ 26, 34. Sawyer alleges that Defendants nevertheless adopted a corporate policy of automatically deducting a half-hour lunch break from employees' time logs, regardless of whether they actually took a break. Compl. ¶ 36. As a result, Defendants deprived employees of wages owed for work performed during the “lunch breaks” Defendants deducted, and, since some of these deducted hours were overtime, Defendants deprived the employees of overtime compensation. Compl. ¶¶ 41, 43.

         Defendants maintained a non-discretionary bonus policy that awarded a $15 bonus each time an employee convinced a patient to buy medication directly from Defendants. Sawyer alleges that Defendants did not include the bonus compensation as part of the regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime pay for Driver/Service Representatives and Customer Service Representatives. Compl. ¶¶ 44-45.

         Sawyer brought suit against Defendants, alleging a violation of the FLSA based on Defendants' failure to pay overtime, a violation of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. §§ 333.101-333.15, based on failure to compensate employees for work performed, a violation of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, 43 P.S. §§ 260.1-260.45, and breach of contract. Sawyer now moves for preliminary certification of an FLSA collective, defined as

All current and former drivers, customer service representatives, and other hourly employees who worked for Health Care Solutions at Home Inc. and/or Lincare Inc. d/b/a Lincare in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at any time in the last 3 years.

Mot. 1. Sawyer also asks this Court to order Defendants to identify all potential members of the proposed collective and to authorize dissemination of his proposed notice by first-class mail, email, and text message.

         III. Legal Standard-Motion for Conditional Certification Under the FLSA

         “Enacted in 1938, the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., was designed ‘to aid the unprotected, unorganized and lowest paid of the nation's working population; that is, those employees who lacked sufficient bargaining power to secure for themselves a minimum subsistence wage.'” Symczyk v. Genesis HealthCare Corp., 656 F.3d 189, 192 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Brooklyn Sav. Bank v. O'Neil,324 U.S. 697, 707 n.18 (1945)), rev'd on othergrounds, 133 S.Ct. 1523 (2013). Among other things, the FLSA “requires all employers to pay their employees for all ...


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