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Post date: March 17 2004

Home Health Care Agency Sued For Overtime

State Attorney General Spitzer today announced that he has filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court against Special Touch Home and Health Care Services, Inc. and its owner, Steven Ostrovsky. The lawsuit alleges that Special Touch, a Brooklyn based home health care agency, has failed to pay over $3,000,000 in overtime pay to its more than 2,000 personal care and home health attendants during the last six years.

The Attorney General's office initiated an investigation of Special Touch in 2003, following complaints that personal care and home health attendants employed by Special Touch were not paid overtime despite New York State law's requirement that such employees must be paid at least $7.73 an hour for hours worked over forty in a work week. The Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that personal care and home health attendants employed by Special Touch typically work between 50 to 60 hours for a wage rate which is customarily about $6.50 for each hour worked, without any enhanced rate for hours over forty. For example, an employee who worked 60 hours for $6.50 per hour would have been paid $390 instead of the $414.6 required by law.

"The people who come into our homes and take care of us and our families when we are ill or convalescent perform a difficult and valuable service," Spitzer said. "These compassionate employees work long hours for low wages, and my office will ensure that they are paid in accordance with the state's wage and hour laws."

The investigation was handled by Assistant Attorney General Devin A. Rice of the AG's Labor Bureau under the supervision of Bureau Chief M. Patricia Smith.