When the Great Recession hit the economy hard, it became common to hear of full time workers being made to work more than 40 hours a week without the proper overtime compensation. Now that the economy has begun to recover, the courts have seen a dramatic increase in wage and hour lawsuits from employees who are no longer afraid to speak out against their employers. In addition to full time workers, though, part time workers have also been made to feel the strain of the tough economy. Recently, Greg and Cathy Villalobos filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against the campground they had agreed to work for part time.
The couple had retired and were looking for some part time work to supplement their Social Security checks. They were initially hired by California Land Management in Palo Alto, California, a company that manages federal parks. According to Greg, “We were only hired to take care of the campground – check the campers in, collect their money and clean up after they leave.” They were also given a campsite to live at so they could take care of the campground.
The couple alleges that California Land Management had promised them that they only had to work 30 hours per week at the most. Everything went fine for about a week, but then the couple were allegedly made to work more than 40 hours a week. If they clocked more than 40 hours a week, the manager allegedly refused to accept their time cards.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to maintain accurate records of all time worked by employees. If plaintiffs in a wage and hour lawsuit can prove that the defendant failed to do so, they can use that as evidence that the wage and hour violations were conducted willfully and intentionally. The result can mean hefty fines for the defendant and a potentially much larger award for the plaintiffs, if the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs.
The couple left and went to work for another land management company, this time making sure that it was understood that they only wanted to work 30 hours per week. Greg alleges that, as with the first campsite, everything went well for the first week, and then they were made to put in more hours. They cleaned the bathrooms, in addition to other duties related to maintaining the campsite, and they had more paperwork to fill out when collection fees from campers. Greg alleges that, “They wanted us to repair stuff; we had to paint the building that was not agreed to ahead of time. At this place we didn’t even get time cards.” Though Greg did keep track of the hours he and his wife worked.
When Greg complained to the manager, he allegedly took Greg aside and accused Greg and his wife of hiding in their trailer and “not working smart”. So the couple again packed up and left.
Greg alleges that he and his wife are each owed about 30 hours of overtime pay and Greg alleges that they are not the only seniors being taken advantage of. He allegedly knows another couple who are in their 70s and are being made to work 50 hours a week. Additionally, when Greg and Cathy were working at the campsite, they were allegedly told not to talk to other “camp hosts.” Greg speculates that this was because the campsite did not want them to file a joint complaint against the company.
Greg and his wife are not anticipating a big pay out as a result of the class action wage and hour lawsuit. Instead, their main goal in filing the lawsuit is to raise awareness of the fact that seniors working at these campgrounds are being taken advantage of and to put a stop to it.
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 Oak Brook and Chicago, Illinois. Contact the Markham and Cicero overtime lawyers and attorneys 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 mis-classified as managers.