Articles Posted in Class Action

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Employees working in sales are not always eligible for overtime compensation when they work more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week, but employers can’t just give a worker the title of “sales representative” and think that’s enough to classify them as exempt from overtime.

Although the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does allow certain employees to be held exempt from the requirement to pay one and one-half times their normal hourly wage for overtime spent working, the legislation is very specific about the requirements employees need to meet in order to qualify for the exemption. Nevertheless, many employers are always looking for ways to save a buck and the methods they choose are not always legal. Misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime compensation, even when they don’t qualify, is a common way for employers to get the most amount of work out of their employees for the lowest cost.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Herr Foods Inc., the potato chip manufacturer allegedly violated the FLSA and Pennsylvania wage laws by refusing to pay their delivery drivers the proper overtime compensation when they worked more than forty hours a week. According to the complaint, the delivery drivers were called “route sales representatives” and were paid a salary in addition to a commission that was based on the sales the drivers made to retailers on their delivery routes. That method of payment allegedly did not cover proper overtime compensation for the drivers, who claim they worked 50 hours per week on average. Continue reading

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Objectors of a recent wage and hour lawsuit against Labor Ready Southwest Inc., a temp agency, are opposing the class action lawsuit, claiming it was filed merely as a catalyst to try to prompt the company to improve its employment practices. But even if that was the reason (or one of the reasons) for filing the lawsuit, it doesn’t mean the claims of the plaintiffs don’t have merit. In fact lawsuits are often pursued with the hope the defendant will change its ways.

Labor Ready has reached a settlement agreement with the 206,000 employees who filed the class action wage and hour lawsuit against the company alleging the temp agency violated federal and California wage laws. According to the wage and hour lawsuit, which was filed in California, Labor Ready allegedly violated California labor law by failing to provide regular meal and rest breaks for its employees.

Under California labor law, all hourly, nonexempt employees are entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours they spend working. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break lasting 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. Continue reading

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The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was created to prevent employers from taking advantage of their workers. The law accomplishes this by defining things like overtime and minimum wage. Currently, overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25, but employers are required to pay all their hourly, nonexempt workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked.

In order to make sure all employers conducting business in the U.S. adhere to these regulations, the FLSA requires businesses to maintain accurate records of the amount of time their employees spent working. If an employer fails to pay their workers for all the time they worked, the employees can have a very difficult time trying to prove their case if the employer did not maintain accurate records.

When a class of workers sued their employer, Tyson Foods, for allegedly failing to pay them for all the time they spent working, Tyson tried to have the case dismissed based on the fact that the lack of records meant the employees were unable to claim damages. Continue reading

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Shortly after a major recession, stories of people losing their jobs are common, but those lost jobs are usually a result of a company downsizing and eliminating that employee’s position. It’s less common to hear a story of an employee with a good track record losing their job so their employer can hire cheap foreign labor, but the lead plaintiffs in two new lawsuits against Disney, HCL, and Cognizant, allege that’s exactly what happened to them after they had dedicated several years to working at the major entertainment company.

Leo Perrero and Dena Moore filed separate, but similar, complaints seeking class action status against Disney and the two global consulting companies. According to the complaints, Disney is allegedly colluding with HCL and Cognizant to abuse H-1B visas that are meant to bring in temporary workers from overseas. Continue reading

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Hiring drivers can sometimes create problems for certain companies. As employers, companies are responsible for all business-related expenses, but those can be difficult to calculate when something (such as an employee’s car) is used for both work and the employee’s personal use.

Most companies have a system in place for calculating how much to reimburse their delivery drivers who use their own vehicles. Sometimes it’s based on the hours the employee works, the miles driven, or the number of deliveries made. But when delivery drivers claim they have not been properly compensated, they can claim allegations of failure to pay minimum wage and unfair business practices.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit filed against Pizza Hut of America Inc., the restaurant chain allegedly underpaid its delivery drivers working in the state of Florida. The lawsuit was filed by several plaintiffs in March 2014 on behalf of all Pizza Hut’s Florida delivery drivers. It alleged the company regularly under-reimbursed its drivers for the expenses they incurred in the course of making deliveries, including the costs of gas, insurance, and vehicle maintenance. The result of this alleged failure to properly reimburse the drivers meant the total pay the drivers received was allegedly less than the legally mandated minimum wage. The wage and hour complaint alleged violations of Florida labor law, as well as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Continue reading

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When an employee quits her job or is fired from her position, her employer is required to pay her all the wages she earned up until the termination of her employment, including any paid time off she may have accrued while working for that employer. According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit, Extended Stay America (ESA Management LLC) allegedly failed to provide its employees with all the wages they had earned, including compensation for their unused paid time off when their employment was terminated.

The wage and hour lawsuit was filed in California, so it has filed for claims under California labor law. In addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which defines overtime and minimum wage for all employees working throughout the country, each state and city has their own labor laws to protect the employees working there. As a result, every company conducting business in the United States has to be sure to abide by all relevant local laws, as well as federal labor laws. Continue reading

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Women can spend a lot of money on makeup, hair care, and hygiene. It’s normally considered a personal expense, but if part of a woman’s job requires her to wear makeup and do her hair, then the costs associated with it should be considered business expenses.

Cheerleaders for football teams in the NFL have traditionally been classified as independent contractors, despite the fact they allegedly don’t meet the qualifications for an independent contractor. Because the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not extend to independent contractors any of the protections it affords employees, the FLSA is very specific about the types of workers that can legally qualify as independent contractors. Continue reading

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One effective method for businesses to cut costs is by using independent contractors, rather than employees. Companies only have to pay independent contractors for the work they do, rather than paying them a salary or an hourly rate for a certain number of hours. Companies also don’t have to worry about helping independent contractors pay their taxes, their health insurance, or Social Security. Independent contractors also cover all their own business expenses and provide their own work-related materials.

Because independent contractors are shouldering these burdens themselves, and they’re exempt from the protections the law extends to employees, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is very specific about the requirements a worker needs to meet in order to be classified as an independent contractor. Workers must be able to make their own hours, control the environment they work in, and wear what they want while working. Continue reading

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We’ve come a long way since the first industrialists forced their workers to work 12 to 16 hour days, six days a week, with little rest and dangerous working conditions. The law doesn’t forbid employees from working long hours, but it does require companies to properly compensate workers who sacrifice their evenings and weekends to spend more time working.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a standard workweek is defined as eight hours a day for five days, or forty hours a week. Any time spent working after a standard workweek is overtime. The Act requires all companies conducting business in the United States to pay all their employees who work overtime one and one-half times the employee’s normal hourly rate for all overtime worked.

In addition to the FLSA, each state has their own labor laws to protect employees within the state. Most of them line up with the FLSA, and when a state law is more lenient than the federal law, the federal law takes precedence. But there are some states that have stricter laws than the FLSA, in which case the state law takes precedence. Cities also have their own labor laws, which can be different from both state and federal laws. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading