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Judge issues arrest warrant for owner of Metro Detroit home care services company

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A federal judge has ordered the arrest of a Metro Detroit-based home care services company after the government says she repeatedly refused to comply with a subpoena and court orders.

Rosie Guthrie is the owner of Genesis Home Care Services, which has multiple locations and provides in-home care to seniors and others with physical disabilities throughout southeast Michigan. According to court documents, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour division opened an investigation into Genesis in early 2022. It sought time and pay records, as well as worker contact information, as part of a larger probe into possible labor law violations in the home care industry.

Those documents show that after “significant back-and-forth,” Guthrie handed over only a small portion of the documents requested. When investigators pressed for further information, Guthrie responded that what she had already provided was “enough,” and stated: “I have been advised that the information I gave you is enough. The caregivers did not agree for me to give out their information. I will not be corresponding with you anymore. If you want to take it to court, I will see you there[.]”

In June of that year, the government served Guthrie with a subpoena for the remainder of the records. She ignored it. In March 2023, the government escalated the case, and a court ordered Guthrie to comply. She continued to refuse. That led to a contempt of court citation in September, and now, to a warrant for her arrest issued on Tuesday.

“The court has upheld the U.S. Department of Labor’s authority to investigate and obtain information about wages, hours and other employment practices and question employees to determine if an employer is complying with federal law. The court has ordered Rosie Guthrie confined until she complies with the court’s orders and produces the documents that will allow the department to complete its compliance review,” Regional Solicitor of Labor Christine Heri said in a press release. “Complying with administrative subpoenas issued by the department is not optional, and the department will pursue all avenues to enforce the law.”

“The opening of a Wage and Hour Division investigation does not mean we will find violations. By refusing to cooperate, Rosie Guthrie now faces imprisonment,” added Regional Wage and Hour Administrator Michael Lazzeri. “Our investigation of Genesis Homecare Services is part of our broader focus on the home care staffing industry — one in which we often identify violations — to protect the rights of women and people in marginalized communities employed in the industry who depend on every dollar they earn.”

In 2022, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division says it recovered $14.9 million in back wages for health care employees nationwide. Most were home health care workers, which the department deems a “low-wage, high-violation industry.”

Guthrie’s current status is unclear. The U.S. District Court in Detroit did not immediately respond to a Michigan Radio inquiry about whether she had been arrested, or if she remains incarcerated. Court documents did not provide any information about Guthrie having an attorney.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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