The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that regulates things like minimum wage and overtime for all employees working in the United States. The law states that hourly workers are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly wage for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The law also requires employers to provide their workers with accurate itemized wage statements. These statements must include the workers’ hourly rate, how many hours they worked, and all deductions made from their pay, such as taxes and health insurance.
In addition to the FLSA, states have their own laws that govern employment within the state. Some of them have very similar requirements to those provided by the FLSA, while others go further than the federal act. California state law, for example, also requires its employers to provide their workers with accurate itemized wage statements. According to a recent wage and hour lawsuit against Verizon, the phone company allegedly failed to do this. The phone company denies the claims.
The lawsuit alleges that thousands of employees worked overtime, but they cannot prove it because the wage statements Verizon provided to them allegedly were not accurate. According to the lawsuit’s allegations, the wage statements failed to accurately provide employees’ hourly wages, the beginning and end of work shifts, and the total amount of time the employees spent working. Without this information, it is impossible for employees to prove they worked overtime, how much overtime they worked, and how much overtime compensation they are owed.
However, because both the FLSA and the California Labor Code require accurate wage statements, the plaintiffs were able to file a lawsuit against Verizon for alleged failure to provide these statements. The lawsuit was initially filed by Hector Banda in April. His wage and hour lawsuit was later combined with another wage and hour lawsuit against the company. In total, the class action now represents more than 6,800 employees who were allegedly issued 223,000 inaccurate wage statements between April 2009 and May 2011.
Verizon and the class of plaintiffs have agreed to settle the lawsuit for $15 million, which will be paid out to the class members in biweekly installments. The settlement has already been approved by Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff, which means class members can expect to see their settlement checks in the mail shortly.
This recent wage and hour lawsuit demonstrates the advantage that class action lawsuits provide to the courts, as well as to plaintiffs. In addition to making sure plaintiffs with small claims have a way of collecting their loss and punishing the defendant, class actions also allow courts to deal with many similar claims all at once. Rather than going through the process of trying two wage and hour lawsuits against Verizon, the court was able to consolidate the claims into a single class action.
Class actions also provide plaintiffs with greater leverage in the court system. When defendants are large corporations with a team of attorneys at their disposal, plaintiffs who lack the same resources can greatly benefit from the option to come together with other plaintiffs with the same, or similar, complaint to bring the defendant to justice.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 Naperville, Joliet and Waukegan overtime and class action 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.