By Pamela Wolf, J.D. The Supreme Court has declined to take up a challenge to the Labor Department’s revised domestic worker regulations that extend FLSA minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers, leaving the final rule in place. On June 27, the Court denied the petition for certiorari in Home Care Association of America v. Weil (Dkt. No. 15-683), as well as several other petitions filed in labor and employment cases. Home care rule. In Home Care Association of America, the D.C. Circuit upheld the so-called home care rule, despite a district court’s earlier conclusion otherwise. The questions that the Justices have declined to address are whether:
- The Court intended in Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke to allow the DOL to deprive all third-party home care employers (who employ more than 90 percent of all home care employees) of their statutory right to avail themselves of FLSA exemptions to overtime.
- The D.C. Circuit erred in finding that Congress intended to exclude employees of third-party employers from the home care exemptions, thereby conflicting with Coke’s contrary reading of congressional intent and creating a conflict among the circuits.
- The DOL’s new rule should be found to be unreasonable due to the agency’s failure to meaningfully address the relevant factors of unaffordability and lack of adequate state funding of the increased costs of home health care under the new rule.
- Flowers v. Troup County School District (Dkt. No. 15-1144), raising the question of whether the standard of proof established by Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc. applies in a Title VII action. The petition sought review of an Eleventh Circuit decision holding that the existence of an unlawful motive in this Title VII action (Reeves was filed under the ADEA) could not be established by showing a prima facie case as well as the falsity of the employer’s explanation for the adverse employment action without additional proof of discrimination.
- Pfeil v. State Street Bank and Trust Company (Dkt. No. 15-1199), which sought review of a Sixth Circuit decision that raised two questions under ERISA: (1) Whether the Court’s decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer affords fiduciaries for employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) per se immunity from fiduciary liability whenever the underlying company stock investment in the ESOP trades in an "efficient market," no matter how speculative the stock has become or how close the company is to filing bankruptcy; and (2) whether ERISA’s duty of prudence requires a plan fiduciary simply to monitor plan investments, or whether it also has a substantive component that requires fiduciaries to remove investments from the plan that are objectively imprudent–i.e., investments that are too risky to hold in a plan based on objective characteristics.
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