The Supreme Court ensured that millions of working people would get fairer treatment when it decided last week not to consider Home Care Association of America v. Weil. That case was the last attempt by home care employers (mostly for-profit agencies) to avoid paying home care workers (mainly women of color) the minimum wage and overtime pay.
By declining to hear the case, the court has confirmed that there is no legal rationale for denying basic labor protections to home care workers, who care for the elderly and disabled in the clients’ homes. The court’s action also marks the end of a long and shameful era in labor law.
In 1975, the Labor Department issued rules that labeled home care workers “companions,” akin to babysitters, a label that exempts employers from having to pay the minimum wage or overtime. The companionship label was wrong from the start, and it became increasingly intolerable as demand for home care increased and a vast for-profit industry developed to meet that demand.
- The New York Times