Articles Posted in Wage & Hour

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A federal judge in Georgia recently denied a plaintiff’s motion for conditional certification of a class-action lawsuit over wage and hour violations.

In Wallace v. Norcross Associates, LLC, the plaintiffs sought unpaid overtime wages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Alvina Wallace and the other litigants were sales associates or sales representatives employed by Norcross Associates, a telemarketing business that sold long-term telephone service contracts for providers like Verizon.  During their employment, Wallace and the others worked on various sales campaigns geared toward business and residential customers.  In return, they received payment along several different compensation schemes, including hourly pay, hourly pay and commissions, commissions only, commissions with $10 per hour recoverable draw, and an increasing hourly rate based on the total number of products and services sold.

Under these schemes, Wallace was employed from April 2007 until March 2012, during which time she was compensated at an hourly rate, an hourly rate plus commissions, and commissions only with a $10 per hour recoverable draw.  Other litigants were paid on a commissions-only basis with a $10 per hour recoverable draw or an hourly basis plus commissions.  All involved claimed that they regularly worked more than 40 hours per week but were never paid overtime.  They also argued that their employer never paid them all of the commissions that they earned.  Their employer, for its part, claimed that it had paid the litigants for all of their time.  Nonetheless, Wallace and the other litigants sought FLSA section 216(b) class status.

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A federal court in Tennessee recently certified a group of call center employees as a class under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), clearing the first hurdle in their class-action lawsuit.  While most federal class-action lawsuits must meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, class-action lawsuits under the FLSA must instead meet the standards of FLSA section 216(b). 

In Rice v. Cellco Partnership, the employees seeking to form a class worked in the Cellco Murfreesboro, Tennessee call center, where they claimed that they were routinely required to perform work “off of the clock” that was actually compensable.  In particular, the employees needed to arrive at their desks at least 15 minutes (and most often 20 to 30 minutes) before their shift began for the purpose of preparing to log onto the Rockwell phone system and take their first calls.  The employees were allegedly disciplined if they were not prepared to take their first call at the start time, and were not allowed to include any time not reflected in the Rockwell phone system.  The employees were allegedly required to check for work-related emails before and after work and during their lunch breaks, for which they were not compensated.  If they logged the actual time they spent working, the employees were disciplined.  Finally, the employees claimed that although they were paid for part of their overtime hours, they were not paid for all of them.

The employees requested that the federal court conditionally certify the action as a collective action under the FLSA and authorize them to send notice to all current and former employees who had worked as customer service representatives for Cellco during the past three years.  Meanwhile, Cellco argued that the employees failed to meet their burden for conditional certification, in that they could not establish that they were similarly situated to the proposed class, or that Cellco had a common policy to violate its lawful policies.  Continue reading →

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Many people who work in the state of Georgia are unaware of the state’s laws with respect to wages. Given the current economic times, many individuals are just happy to have a job, regardless of whether or not they are receiving fair pay for the work performed. Still, any Atlanta employment attorney will tell you that it is important for people who work to know that there are certain hour and wage laws that the state must follow.

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The falsification of timesheets in the workplace is a very serious offense under the law. When some people hear about falsifying timesheets, they immediately assume that it was the employee who was doing the falsifying. However, a Georgia employment attorney can tell you that it is not only an offense that is committed by employees–employers are often guilty of the violation as well.

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The National Economic Research Associates (“NERA”) recently released a report indicating that wage and hour lawsuits and settlements have increased in 2012 across the United States. According to NERA’s report on LawyersandSettlements.com, employers paid, on average, 18% more to settle wage and hour disputes in 2012 than they did in 2011.

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