Although it seems like large companies are never short on cash, it’s usually more likely that, the larger the company, the more pressure it’s under to watch its bottom line. Too often, making that bottom line includes cheating employees out of their hard-earned wages. Unfortunately, it’s also true that, the larger the company, the more ways they have of avoiding the law.
According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Rotonda Golf Partners and Rotonda Golf Partners II LLC, the two companies, which are both under the same ownership, allegedly took advantage of their relationship to allegedly manipulate employees’ hours and wages. The lawsuit alleges the companies illegally exploited their relationship to avoid paying employees the proper overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate.
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 also requires employers to pay all their hourly, non-exempt workers 50% more for their overtime hours than they pay them for all the straight time they spend working. But these regulations only apply to hours employees spend working for one employer. Workers who hold down multiple jobs are not owed overtime compensation until they have worked more than eight hours a day or forty hours in a week for one employer.
The class action wage and hour lawsuit filed against Rotonda Golf Partners and Rotonda Golf Partners II LLC alleges the companies illegally manipulated employees’ time cards to divide up their hours between them. As a result, employees who worked more than forty hours a week for the golf courses were allegedly never properly compensated for the overtime hours they spent working.
Rotonda Golf Partners, which operates five golf courses, all of which are located along Florida’s western coast, continues to deny having done anything illegal. Nevertheless, it has agreed to settle the class action overtime lawsuit for $130,000. In their motion asking for settlement approval, both parties pointed out that Rotonda Golf Partners has already paid $96,000 to 35 current and former employees. It is prepared to pay an additional $34,000 in legal costs and attorneys fees in order to put the matter behind them for good.
Despite Rotonda’s conviction of its innocence and the plaintiffs’ certainty that their claims are valid, it is most likely in the best interests of both parties to settle the lawsuit outside of court because neither side can be sure a jury will rule in its favor. For all Rotonda knows, a jury might rule in favor of the plaintiffs and order them to pay a much higher award than what they’ve already agreed to pay, not to mention the higher legal fees Rotonda will surely rack up along the way.
If they continue to pursue this dispute in the courts, the plaintiffs risk a jury ruling in Rotonda’s favor and leaving them with a pile of legal bills and no compensation. By agreeing to settle the matter themselves, the plaintiffs get the benefit of knowing they’ll receive some compensation now.
It did require some compromise though, because the plaintiffs initially sued for damages that were worth double their alleged unpaid wages. In order to settle their claims, they lowered that amount to one and a half times their alleged unpaid wages.
It is not customary for defendants to make settlement payments before receiving settlement approval from a court judge. If the judge decides the settlement is not fair to both parties, they could still end up going to trial and potentially facing a court-ordered award.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Extended Stay America, Staybridge Suites, Best Western, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Applebees, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
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 Oak Lawn and Naperville. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Joilet, Schaumburg and Palatine 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.