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TribLocal Reporters Settle Unpaid Overtime Class Action for $660,000


This blog deals primarily with the requirement, outlined in the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), for employers to provide their workers with the standard overtime compensation (one and one-half times their regular hourly rate) for each hour that they work in excess of eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. There are some exceptions to that rule, depending on the employee’s duties. Journalists may fit the requirements for overtime exemption, but only if their duties require creativity and imagination.
According to a recent lawsuit filed against the Chicago Tribune, their TribLocal reporters, covering mostly school board and municipal meetings, failed to meet that standard and are therefore eligible to be paid the standard overtime rate for all of the hours they work after eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.

The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago on behalf of Carolyn Rusin, who worked as a staff reporter for TribLocal from July 2010 to October 2011. She was assigned to cover stories in the Barrington area and Palatine and alleges that she regularly worked more than 40 hours per week. However, she only received five hours of overtime pay in 2011. Rusin alleges that she normally needed 50 to 60 hours each week in order to complete her assignments.

The lawsuit includes 46 current and former TribLocal reporters and the settlement offer of $660,000 has just been mailed out. The settlement has been preliminarily approved by a federal judge and now awaits review by the reporters, who can then decide to remain part of the class or to opt out. Those who don’t opt our will receive an average of about $9,000 after attorneys’ fees and costs.

The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against newspapers, magazine, websites and other media companies for misclassifying reporters, copy writers and other workers as managers, 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 this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.

The lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner’s rights. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Orland Park, Evergreen Park 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 misclassify 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 not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.