Not long after it had to fight off a lawsuit from its shareholders over the terms of its expansion in Texas, Martin Marietta, a materials supplier, now has to deal with a lawsuit filed by one of its former employees. The lead plaintiff in the overtime lawsuit, Neal D., worked for the company for almost ten years as a warehouse clerk. In that time, he says the responsibilities Martin Marietta gave him regularly required him to work well over forty hours a week, but he was never paid for the extra time he worked.
Davis further alleges he was often required to work through his lunch breaks, but that he was never compensated for that extra time. He also alleges Marietta did not keep proper records of the time its employees spent working and the time they spent on their lunch breaks.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. It further requires employers to pay all their hourly, nonexempt workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all overtime worked. In addition to the FLSA, each state has their own laws governing things like minimum wage and overtime, but most of them are in line with or revert to the regulations provided in the FLSA.
Neal D. is alleging Martin Marietta knowingly and intentionally violated the FLSA by refusing to pay him the proper overtime compensation for all the hours he worked. He has therefore filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against his former employer on behalf of himself and all similarly situated current and former employees of Martin Marietta. He has filed for back pay and liquidated damages, plus interest ranging from $200,000 to $1 million.
All employers working within the United States are responsible for knowing and abiding by all the applicable labor laws. Nevertheless, the courts realize that, between the federal, state, and city labor laws, keeping track of all of them can be overwhelming, and they often take this into account when ruling against an employer. But failing to maintain proper records is a serious allegation that, if proven, will make things much harder for Martin Marietta in the overtime lawsuit.
Because the overtime lawsuit alleges Martin Marietta committed its violations of the FLSA in a willful and intentional manner, the court might grant Neal D. a much higher award if he is successful in pursuing his claims, than it would if Martin Marietta could show it did not realize it was violating labor law.
This is all supposing the class action lawsuit does not settle outside of court, which is very likely. In order to avoid the hassle and expense of a long, drawn out litigation, as well as the uncertainty of a court ruling, parties involved in class action lawsuits often opt to settle the dispute outside of court. The likelihood of reaching a settlement increases the larger the class is.
At the moment it is too early to tell how large the proposed class action against Martin Marietta will be, assuming the court certifies the class. The lawsuit has only just been filed and the attorneys for both sides will need to conduct a fair amount of discovery before they will be able to say how large the proposed class of plaintiffs might be.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Des Plaines and Carpentersville. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Plainfield and Romeoville overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.