Workers who have claims to file against their employers can find strength in numbers. Class actions have long been a tool for plaintiffs to gain leverage against defendants by bringing plaintiffs with the same or sufficiently similar claims together to file a single action against what is usually a large corporation with a team of dedicated lawyers at their disposal. This is especially true for workers who usually have little to no leverage against their employers when their employers take advantage of them.
Sometimes class actions can multiply their leverage by merging with other class action lawsuits that involve similar claims. Current and former employees of AlliedBarton Security Services companies have done just this by combining three wage and hour class action lawsuits into one large lawsuit.
The first lawsuit was filed by Mikhail B. in 2008, the second was filed by Gregory D. in December of 2012, and finally Jose A. filed a third wage and hour class action lawsuit in January 2014.
All the named plaintiffs who filed class action lawsuits allege the securities company violated various California wage and hour laws, including providing meal and rest breaks to its hourly, nonexempt employees, providing accurate wage statements, and properly paying employees for all hours worked.
California labor law requires all employers conducting business within the state to provide all their hourly nonexempt employees with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day. For every four hours of work, employees are entitled to one paid uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to one unpaid uninterrupted meal break of at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, bonuses, and tips earned that day.
If AlliedBarton failed to provide employees with these breaks and compensate them accordingly, it could have resulted in the company misrepresenting the amount of time worked and wages earned by employees on their paystubs. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires all employers to provide their workers with accurate itemized wage statements, including the employee’s name, the company’s full name and address, the pay period, the employee’s hourly wage, the number of hours worked in the pay period, wages paid, and all deductions made from the employee’s wages, such as taxes and health insurance.
Rather than continue to fight the legal battle in the courts, AlliedBarton has agreed to settle all three lawsuits, without any admission of wrongdoing, for $11 million, plus or minus ten percent. Because the settlement includes three different class action lawsuits that were filed eight years apart, the settlement includes all current and former employees who worked for AlliedBarton as a nonexempt, hourly employee in California any time between April 1, 2004 through January 9, 2015. The parties estimate this will bring the total number of class members to 43,893.
Potential class members don’t need to do anything to be included in the class action lawsuit, but they can always choose to opt out. According to the settlement agreement, if 5-10% of the estimated 43,893 class members choose to opt out of the settlement, the amount will be changed accordingly, up to 10% of the settlement amount. If the class ends up including 5-10% more employees than originally estimated, AlliedBarton will increase the settlement amount accordingly, up to 10% of the original settlement amount.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center near Aurora 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 Berwyn and Orland Park. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Elgin and Joliet 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.