Excerpt from The New York Times: (click for entire article)
Evelyn Coke spent 20 years as a home care aide helping the elderly and the sick, but she did not live to see fair labor laws applied to her work.
In a case that went to the Supreme Court in 2007, Ms. Coke, who died in 2009, sued her employer for years of unpaid overtime and lost, 9 to 0. This month, President Obama invoked Ms. Coke’s memory when he announced that the Labor Department had finally proposed changes to the provisions on which the court had based its decision.
At issue in Ms. Coke’s case was a 1975 labor rule that defined home care aides as “companions,” a class of workers that does not qualify for federal minimum wage and overtime protections. Ms. Coke’s lawyer, Craig Becker, argued that the rule was supposed to apply only to occasional domestic workers, like baby sitters, not home care aides — one of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations and one whose duties often include feeding, bathing and dressing clients. But the justices said that only Congress or the Labor Department could change the rule, not the court.