Most of us don’t expect our employers to pay us for the time that we spend commuting to and from work. This expectation changes, though, if driving from one location to another is a regular part of an employee’s duties. According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit, Nielsen Company (US) LLC, the well-known media research company that has been measuring audiences for more than fifty years, has been paying its employees for some of the time spent driving from one location to another, but not all of that time.
The class action lawsuit was filed by a Nielsen employee, who worked as a member representative for Nielsen. According to the complaint, part of the employee’s job was to visit the homes of individuals and families who were enrolled with Nielsen in order to monitor their television viewing habits and other forms of media consumption.
The complaint alleges that, although Nielsen did pay employees for most of the time spent commuting between homes, it did not pay them for the time spent commuting to the first visit of the day or from the last visit of the day. According to the lawsuit, Nielsen allegedly maintained a policy in which employees were not considered to be on the clock until they arrived at their first destination, and they were off the clock as soon as they left their last visit.
The lawsuit alleges that the time spent commuting for which the employees were not paid amounts to overtime. As such, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the lawsuit alleges that the employees should have been paid one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all of the time that they spent driving to their first visit and from their last visit of the day.
In addition to unpaid overtime, the lawsuit also alleges that Nielsen failed to provide employees with the proper meal and rest breaks, as required by the relevant labor law. Although the FLSA does not require employers to provide workers with breaks throughout the day, some states do have labor laws with this requirement. California, for example, requires all of its employers to provide their workers with a paid rest break lasting at least 10 minutes for every four hours that the employee works. For every five hours that the employee spends working, the labor law requires employers to provide an unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour.
The class action lawsuit was settled for $1.2 million, which covers everyone who worked for Nielsen from May 8, 2009 to the present. As part of the settlement agreement, Nielsen refuses to admit to having done anything illegal. This is a common practice when lawsuits are settled. The defendant gets to save face while both parties get a speedy resolution to a lawsuit which could otherwise drag on in the courts and be very costly to both sides.
The wage and hour lawsuit was split into two classes: one for everyone who worked for Nielsen in California, and one for all of the employees of the company nation-wide. One-third of the settlement is going to the California class, while the rest will go to the national class.
The attorneys at Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience litigating wage and hour cases, including overtime, vacation pay, meal breaks, and tips. We have offices conveniently located in Oakbrook Terrace and Chicago, Illinois. Contact a Schaumburg and Evanston wage and hour lawyer at the Chicago Overtime Law Center today at 312-869-4095. We are looking to represent loan and mortgage brokers who have not been paid overtime and have been misclassified as managers.